On December 6th, Invest in Africa joined forces with Global Partner Clyde & Co to debate the motion:
“This house believes that international anti-bribery & corruption legislation has reduced the ability of local African companies to compete for business opportunities.”
Below are the highlights of each side’s argument.
- Economies in some developing countries, especially in Africa, are hindered by the current design of international anti-corruption laws.
- The international anti-bribery laws were developed in a western context and do not necessarily fit within the mould of African economies.
- They are too punitive to SMEs and attempts to revise legislation should begin by addressing this aspect.
- A country’s perceived level of corruption does not necessarily affect potential investors/investments as there are countries perceived to be very corrupt with high growth trajectories and FDI investments.
- In the long term, a lack of legislation on corruption is too costly, inefficient and bad for business for multinational companies working on the continent.
- Anti-bribery and corruption laws have proven to improve and grow businesses and the ease of business.
- There is a universal international frame work for anti-bribery laws that creates continuity across the world but can also be further adapted for different markets and economies.
- Foregoing the current international anti-bribery and corruption laws adversely affects the growth of multinational companies and SMEs.
- There are multinational companies currently working with local business to help them understand and attain the standards required.
Both sides however agreed that anti-bribery compliance is unquestionably an additional burden on small companies, but one that is worthwhile for long-term change.
The motion failed with 20 against, 9 for and 4 abstained.