Opacity in campaign financing cited as a problem for African countries
The lack of transparency in the sourcing and spending of campaign funds by political parties and candidates has been cited as a major problem for African countries. This is one of the highlights from the two-day international conference on money in politics in Africa, under the theme: Campaign Finance Transparency.
The conference which was conducted virtually on August 30-31, 2023, drew participation from over 30 countries in Africa as panelists and ordinary participants. It comprised six panels with different sub-themes namely;
- Campaign Financing in Africa
- The legal and institutional framework for campaign financing in Africa.
- The increasing cost of elective politics in Africa
- Campaign finance and the participation of women and youth in African elections as candidates.
- Financing political parties in Africa: The nexus between campaign finance and political corruption.
- Citizen disinterest in how political parties and candidates’ source for campaign money and how they spend it.
The commercialisation of politics was also cited as a challenge arising from the fact that political jobs are among the best paying hence making them attractive to many men and women that are seeking to enrich themselves. This turns electoral contests into do-or-die affairs which sometimes escalate into violent electoral contests.
The participants resolved to form a continental coalition of civil society organisations, the academia and individuals advocating for political finance transparency. This is what will later be known as the African Political Finance Transparency Initiative.
The two-day conference was organised by the Alliance for Finance Monitoring (ACFIM) and co-convened by the African Election Observers Network (AfEONet), the Eastern and Horn of Africa Election Observers Network (EHORN), Gambia Participates, Christian Churches Monitoring Group (CCMG-Zambia), and Center of Democracy and Development (CDD-Ghana).