Fighting corruption in development – The ‘development pact’


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Why are politicians and administrators the ones to discuss and shape up the development agenda ? This is how Anupama Jha (Transparency International India), one of the GDN Award Finalists for the Most Innovative Development Project, started her presentation today, wondering why a top-down approach is always applied when it comes to addressing development.

It goes without saying that excluding poor from discussions around development and fighting poverty does not help to move forward. According to Anupama, such top-down approach leads to a lack of inclusive development and growth due to an increase of corruption in both political and administrative institutions, and disproportionate access to political and administrative decisions. This in turns results in a lack of trust of the people in their elected political leaders.

Anupama presented an innovative anti-corruption tool aiming to create incentives for political actors to deliver against the development agenda, as well as opportunities for an empowered participation of poor people in shaping up the agenda and enforcing public accountability and transparency.

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Corruption: A “plague” to the Nigerian economy

Why aid is bad for Africa - Cartoon Movement

Why aid is bad for Africa – Cartoon Movement

Corruption is a global phenomenon and its adverse effect on economic development has been a problem facing countries worldwide. Africa is one of the continents that are deeply implicated by corruption and one of the countries that suffer the most is Nigeria. Nigeria is rated amongst the most corrupt nations of the world, and as one of the top most failing countries in Africa. Transparency, accountability and proper political leadership are all factors that should be discussed in order to lead to good governance and less corruption.

I came across a stimulating paper on the GDNet knowledge-base by Samson A. Adesote and John O. Abimbola titled “Corruption and national development in Nigeria’s forth republic: a historical discourse,” that debates and analyzes recommendations to the above factors.

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ERF 18th Annual Conference – Report plenary session 3: Fighting corruption

After having looked into the issues of measurement and consequences of corruption, and its determinants, the third plenary session of the ERF’s 18th Annual Conference focused on how to fight corruption.

The need to establish an anti-corruption culture to prevent corruption in the future was highlighted by Ziad Ahmed Bahaa-Eldin, Member of Egyptian People’s Assembly. In this context, he mentioned the Egyptian Initiative for Prevention of Corruption and the role that the Parliament should play in this regard.

While Pratap Mehta, President of the Centre for Policy Research, shared some good and successful practices of fighting corruption in India; Michael Ross (University of California at Los Angeles) discussed the “unobvious correlation” between oil and corruption in the Middle East region.

Read more on ERF blog

A trailer providing an overview of the Conference and the issues that emerged over the past three days was projected at the closing session.

ERF 18th Annual Conference discusses determinants of corruption

Today was the second day of the ERF’s 18th Annual Conference. Chaired by Rima Khalaf (UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia), the second plenary session provided an overview on the determinants of corruption through three key speakers who shared their perspectives on the issue.

Panel plenary session 2 - ERF 2012 Annual Conference

Panel plenary session 2 - ERF 2012 Annual Conference

Lisa Anderson (American University in Cairo) highlighted the importance of understanding the notion of “modern corruption” being the diversion of goods from the public sphere to private gain. “There is a political and administrative system from which things should not be diverted to personal gains” she said.

The diversity of corruption drivers in developing countries was addressed by Mushtaq Khan (University of London), who insisted on the importance of their selection and prioritization.

The session ended with a focus on the situation in the MENA region by Jeffrey Nugent (University of Southern California). In his presentation, Nugent referred mainly to the situation in Egypt, which is “not one of the better performers” as there seems to be a “fair amount of corruption” in the country.

Read more about the session on ERF Blog

Measuring the immeasurable: Understanding corruption

By Shahira Emara & Maya Madkour

Corruption is wrong, dishonest and damaging. Causes,effects,and determinantsof corruption, methods of measuring its implications, and the means to understand and fight it, are increasingly becoming a priority on national and international agendas.

Paul Collier, Oxford University, argues that the absence of proper governance and democracy in the Middle East, among many other regions, provide fertile grounds to cultivate bad practices and processes that foster corruption. With the Arab Awakening, people all over the world are now more aware of the ever-growing cost of corruption and its astronomic ripple effect. Measuring the cost of corruption is a challenge because it is perceived in many different ways.

Corruption comes in many different colors, shapes and sizes; and being able to spot it in its different garbs is helpful. A causal, long-term relationship usually exists between corruption and social development goals, like tackling

infant mortality and illiteracy.Corporate bribery, political, and legal corruption often take place regardless of where the country sits on the development hierarchy. But the costs of corruption are relative to where different countries sit within this hierarchy.

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What to do about corruption? Focus on the process, says Paul Collier

By Dina Mannaa

During the first plenary session of the ERF 18th annual conference, the measurement and consequences of corruption were addressed thoroughly.  We had the opportunity to record a short interview Paul Collier, Professor of Economics – Oxford University after his presentation. In the video below, Prof. Collier pinpoints the major obstacles faced while attempting to limit the act of corruption.  He underlines that it is very hard to catch people and set penalties that match their unlawful acts of corruption.

He suggests that good regulatory processes, as well as monitoring the implementation of public projects – which experience the most rate of corruption such as extortion, soliciting or offering bribery- might “squeeze the opportunity of corruption.” In conclusion, he recommends to combine both  penalties and good processes together  in order to put an end to the factors contributing to corruption.

Read more stories from the ERF Annual Conference on the ERF blog

ERF 18th Annual Conference on “Corruption and Economic Development” kicks off in Cairo

Economic Research Forum (ERF) kick-started its 18th Annual Conference today with its first plenary session, featuring an impressive line-up of speakers. The focus was on the issue of measuring corruption and its consequences, framing the discussion that will be further explored at the plenary sessions over the next two days of the conference.

ERF 2012 Conference - Opening and Plenary session 1

ERF 2012 Conference - Opening and Plenary session 1

Following the opening remarks of Ahmed Galal, ERF Managing Director, and Abdlatif Al-Hamad (Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development), Professor Paul Collier highlighted how the costs of corruption are hard to measure and greater than it is possible to imagine. He provided examples of both ‘grand’ and ‘petty’ corruption and contrasted commercial public sector corruption with the type found in the private sector.

Daniel Kaufmann (Brookings Institution) discussed the many different measures of corruption and their relationships, underlining the importance of the interactive relation between transparency, freedom of speech and association, democratic accountability and the fight against corruption. According to him, transparent countries do better in terms of fighting corruption. However, the impact remains limited when the rule of law is weakly implemented. “One does not fight corruption by ‘fighting corruption’, voice and democratic accountability matters” he stated.

Finally, Serdar Sayan (TOBB University of Economics and Technology) underscored new approaches to gauging corruption in different parts of the world, using survey-based measures to assess perceptions.

A pre-Conference workshop exploring aspects of the Arab awakening took place yesterday in an attempt to assess where the Arab mass movements came from, understand the changes that have emerged in the region over the past year and identify lessons learned from other countries/regions which experienced a political transition in the recent years.

Panel session 1: Political Economy Settlements

Panel session 1: Political Economy Settlements

Videos interviews with workshop speakers and participants are available on ERF blog and ERF 2012 playlist onYouTube

“Corruption and Economic Development”: Focus of ERF’s 18th Annual Conference

Corruption is unethical. It is often associated with violence, crime and, in extreme cases, may result in popular revolts, a fact experienced by this region first hand. This year the Economic Research forum (ERF) Conference on Corruption and Economic Development will be held on March 25-27 2012 in Cairo. The conference comes at a time when MENA region is undergoing significant political transformation and many sociopolitical changes.

The definition of corruption and the extent to which corruption is the product of the rules governing economic transactions will be discussed at the plenary sessions, which will feature renowned economists and opinion makers.

Follow proceedings from the ERF conference on the ERF blog. Social Media coverage will be provided by the GDNet team.

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