Corruption impedes development

The back of a man standing in a doorway.

Corruption is the abuse of entrusted power for private gain.
General definition of corruption, Transparency International

Corruption is a global phenomenon yet the obstructive effect it has on development (and thus the direct link between poverty and corruption) is more than evident. In 2015, more than six billion people were living in countries facing serious corruption problems according to the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) compiled by non-governmental organisation Transparency International. The phenomenon can take various forms, including bribery, embezzlement, misappropriation, cronyism or nepotism. The consequences are catastrophic – in economic, political and social terms.

Preventing corruption

Measures to prevent and combat corruption are usually go hand in hand with reforms aimed at fostering good governance. Administrative reforms, for example, help simplify processes, thereby reducing the breeding ground for corruption. Clearly defined, performance-based rules for assigning posts and promoting staff prevent nepotism and help professionalise administrative employees.

Promoting transparency in the public finance system curbs corruption and improve the chance of exposing misuse of public funds. It forces government bodies to be more accountable to the public and involve them in decisions. Technology-based systems that facilitate political participation ("e-governance") can be an additional aid in making anti-corruption principles part of routine practice in administrative bodies.

International anti-corruption initiatives

Corruption Perceptions Index 2015: Map showing the perceived levels of public sector corruption worldwide

Corruption has been recognised as a global problem since the mid-1990s. As the causes and impacts can transcend national borders, international cooperation is called for to tackle corruption effectively. One of the areas on which German development cooperation efforts have focused is combating global illicit financial flows so that local resources benefit the development of the country from which they come. Further information about relevant initiatives and agreements can be found here along with numerous links to the documents and websites concerned.

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