The Launch of Africa Regional Report on Tobacco Industry Interference index 2021

The first ever Africa regional report on Tobacco Industry Interference index has been launched. The regional report was published by the Africa Tobacco Control Alliance (ACTA) in collaboration with Global Centre for Good Governance on Tobacco Control, the Africa Centre for Tobacco Industry Monitoring and Policy Research (ATIM) the Africa Capacity Building Foundation(ACBF).

The regional report demonstrates progress made by governments in the fight against industry interference in Africa. In the report 14 countries were surveyed and scored on a scale of 0-100 (the higher the score the greater the level of interference) to reflect government efforts in protecting public health policies from tobacco industry interference. Additionally, the report solicits stakeholders’ views on how each country performs concerning the level of industry influence on its policy development and implementation or the prevention thereof, using seven key indicators.

The report indicates variations in country performance, with a high level of tobacco industry interference in Zambia and Tanzania while low interference and/or high prevention measures were observed in Uganda, Kenya, and Gabon, amongst the countries surveyed in 2020.

Some of the key findings indicate relatively high interference in relation to the following:

  • Heightened corporate social responsibility-enabling engagement with government bodies during the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Industry’s influence over policy development and lack of transparency by governments in official dealings with the tobacco industry.
  • The industry received privileges from governments through a variety of benefits including delays in tax increment or tax breaks for the industry, “endorsement” of sponsorships and promotion of the tobacco industry.

The report also shows the need for governments to adequately address conflict of interests, especially where serving or immediate past public officials work for or serve on the boards of tobacco companies.

A key recommendation, among others, was that governments should urgently implement the WHO FCTC Article 5.3 guidelines to prevent tobacco industry and its allies from interfering with tobacco control policy.

The full report can be accessed here