The Elephant in the Room: Corruption Sets the Stage for Development
By admin July 2, 2018

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Corruption has been identified as the single most significant obstacle to economic and social development; its claws are systematic, enduring and far-reaching and have long been considered a hindrance to good governance. US$1 trillion is paid in bribes annually while an estimated US$2.6 trillion is stolen through corrupt activities – a sum that is equivalent to more than 5% of global GDP. According to the United Nations Development Programme, funds lost to corruption in developing countries are around 10 times the amount of official development assistance. By hindering participation, transparency, accountability, and efficiency, and impeding on the rule of law in economic, political and administrative institutions and processes, it sets the normative standards of development in these countries.

Low levels of corruption are not only a hallmark of political maturity but also a requisite for growth and poverty reduction. Its adverse effects are manifested in the poor delivery of essential services in health, education, food and water supply, infrastructure, and security, affecting the establishment of an equitable economic base.

But around the world and across every sector, we see the issue of corruption once again taking center stage. Just last Sunday – like so many developing countries undergoing political change – Mexico elected a candidate who ran his campaign on promises to crack down on corruption and violence. The African Union also opened its annual summit this weekend with a central agenda of addressing the issue of corruption in the region, and the International Monetary Fund has proposed a new anti-corruption framework. Research from international organizations such as Transparency International link corruption and the lack of accountability to a broader range of issues like the mitigation of climate change, the possibility of hotbeds of organized crime and violent extremism, and the equality of women and children. It will take time to break down the structures that make corruption possible and operational. But if true sustainable development is to be achieved, corruption must be front and center and tackled from both top-down and bottom-up.


Further Readings:

Corruption and development

African Union Leaders Open 2-Day Summit

Mexico election: López Obrador vows to fight corruption

New report shows poor policies at UN shipping agency put climate goals at risk

The new IMF Anti-corruption Framework: 3 things we’ll be looking for a year from now

Is Systemic Corruption Driving Violent Extremism?

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