Africa Tobacco Industry Interference Index 2023

Conflict of interest to protect public health policy

A conflict of interest issue arises when an individual’s or institution’s vested interests create concerns about the objectivity of their actions, judgment, and/or decision-making.
According to the WHO FCTC’s Article 5.3 Guidelines, parties must eliminate conflicts of interest for all public servants and workers and adopt guidelines to guard against the tobacco industry’s influence on public health policies. Figure 13 below shows the ranking of conflict of interest by country.

Some countries such as Uganda and Ethiopia have no record of a conflict of interest of any senior government official joining the tobacco industry or vice versa during this reporting period. The government of Ethiopia has fully withdrawn from the tobacco industry through full privatization of its share to JTI in the period of 2016 to 2017 and government officials have since then not held a place in the board or any other position.

In Botswana, a notable achievement was the passing of a Tobacco Control Act (TCA) no. 19 of 2021,, which requires political parties, candidates, or campaigns to disclose all contributions made to them by any person, including tobacco industry entities or their affiliates. Despite no evidence of senior government officials forming part of the tobacco industry, nor current government officials or relatives holding positions in the tobacco business, these provisions have not yet
been implemented pending the development of regulations.

One way the industry influences public policy is through a revolving door where politicians or civil servants take up tobacco industry jobs in
the area of their former public service or where tobacco industry professionals accept government positions that regulate the industry they
were once a part of. This is the case in several countries such as Gabon, Chad, Kenya and Cameroon.

In Gabon for instance, the Chairman of the board of CECA-GADIS in Gabon (major importer for Imperial Tobacco Brands) has been Minister and High Representative of the Head of State several times, and is currently Political Advisor to the Head of State and High Commissioner of the Republic.

In Cameroon, the boss of the local distributor of the ASPEN cigarette brands of the SODISNI Company is a senior member of the ruling CPDM
party, currently a senator for the Littoral Region.

Authority was previously the Head of Finance BAT in Ghana . Also, the executive director of sales and marketing at Target Link Company Limited, was appointed a board member of the Ghana Commercial Bank from 2019 to the end of 2021

Also, PMI launched the IMPACT project (a100 million USD global fund) in South Africa, to support public, private, and non-governmental
organizations to develop and implement projects against illegal trade and related crimes.
The funding applications are judged by anNExpert Council of individuals with close links to United Nations (UN) agencies and INTERPOL and Council members are financially compensated for their time. The council includes a former judge of South Africa is a member of the council of PMI IMPACT that funds projects against illicit trade.

Another way the tobacco industry does this is through a patronage system providing monetary contributions in anticipation of political leverage and support.

In Chad, despite the tobacco control and Decree 1523 on the prevention of
interference by the tobacco industry prohibit the industry from any sponsorship, philanthropy or patronage activities, the prohibition of contributions to political parties, candidates or political campaigns is not formally expressed.

In Kenya, both past and present government appointees continue to hold positions in the tobacco industry. In some countries, such as Madagascar, although the government does not prohibit contributions from the tobacco industry or any entity working to further its interests to political parties, candidates, or campaigns or to require full disclosure of such
contributions. There are many people who occupy high state positions who have relationships with a family member who works in the tobacco industries. For example, the mayor of the capital Antananarivo, former Minister of Foreign Affairs is a member of the family who
owns the Andriatsitohaina Group, involved in the tobacco plantation. In some countries such as Ghana, a careful review of current and former government officials reveals a link between some officials and the
tobacco industry. For instance the current Deputy CEO of the Ghana Export Promotion.

In South Africa, political parties for the first time, publicly disclosed the sources and amounts of private funding received, in accordance with the Political Party Funding Act.24 in 2022. The government does not have a policy to prohibit contributions from the tobacco industry. This was in response to a Political Party Funding Act, 2018 (Act no. 6 of 2018) which was implemented on 1 April 2021. In light of this, at the end of September 2022, all political parties were required to publicly disclose the sources and amounts of private funding received and submit audited financial statements to the Electoral Commission

In Zambia and Mauritius, there are no regulations that requires the disclosure or registration of individuals, affiliated organizations, or tobacco industry entities acting on their behalf, including lobbyists. For instance, the Electoral Act (2006) of Zambia has no provisions on the raising and expenditure of party funds. The Societies Act, under which
parties are registered, requires that parties make some disclosure of their financial records to the Registrar of Societies, but places no
restrictions on how money is raised or spent.