LAGOS- Liberia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs,  Mr Augustine Ngafuan, has  said that  Africa was losing over 50 billion dollars annually, through illicit financial flows.
Ngafuan said at the 20th annual endowment fund lecture of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) in Lagos that reports on such illicit financial flows were submitted by the Thabo Mbeki-led panel.
The lecture was part of events lined-up for the 63rd annual council meeting of the examination body.
The theme of the lecture was: What else are we writing on the slate: A call for Holistic Preparation of the Youth.
The  endowment fund was established by the Council at its 30th annual meeting in March 1982, to promote educational development projects of international nature.
It was established to provide awards for outstanding performance by candidates in the council’s examination.
Ngafuan described such financial flows as money illegally earned, transferred or used, adding that such financial transfers were worrisome, given the inadequate growth and high levels of poverty in Africa.
“We have serious resource needs, as well as contending with the changing global landscape of official development assistance, received by Africa during the same time frame.
“Poverty in Africa remains a serious concern because of its multidimensional nature.
“This is in the sense of limited access to education, healthcare, housing, potable water and sanitation, which put the estimated 50 billion dollars in better perspective.
“This figure is indeed alarming and mind-boggling, at a time when more than 400 million Africans are living in absolute poverty,’’ he said.
Ngafuan blamed the development on some leaders in government and in business within the continent, collaborating with their cronies from other continents.
According to him, the script of moral excellence might not have been written on their slates during their impressionable years.
He added that the looters might have written the script of moral excellence so faintly, that it evaporated very quickly in the face of temptation.
Ngafuan said more holistic preparation of the youth was not an exclusive obligation of teachers or the school system in general.
He said all players, including the family, the peer group, the government, and faith-based institutions, must play their part.
According to him, there is nothing the teachers or any school system could do, if the parents failed to live up to their responsibility in inculcating the right values in their children and wards, early in life.
He said that WAEC, as the premier public examinations body in the region, was working closely with school authorities, to contribute to a more holistic preparation of the youth.
The minister said this could be attained by taking a host of positive measures, such as protecting the integrity of the entire testing system.
According to the minister, stemming malpractice in the system which would require identifying all of its causal and catalysing factors is critical.
He regretted that in spite of all the laudable efforts that WAEC, school authorities, and governments had applied over the years to curtail examination fraud, it had persisted.
“There are still few individuals in the system, ready to fall for anything.
“Some administrators, teachers or students, who engage in malpractice before, during and after the sitting of the actual test, do so in their mad quest for “unmerited merits”.
“Some students dread the shame and other consequences of failing the WAEC exam so much  that they are prepared to do anything to avoid such a terrible outcome.
“To help close the integrity gap in the system, we need to address a host of challenges that undermine the strength and integrity of the system.
“Not the least of which is the dismal plight of teachers and other education workers.