International Anti-Corruption Day - Statement by Donald Kaberuka
“Zero Corruption -100% Development”
Corruption is a global threat. It is a serious roadblock to economic development and is viewed as sand in the wheels of prosperity. In our globalized and highly interconnected world, corruption represents one of our greatest challenges; every year $1 trillion are paid in bribes in the world while an estimated $2.6 trillion are stolen annually through corruption – a sum equivalent to more than 5 per cent of the global GDP. But corruption does not just steal money from where it is needed the most; it leads to weak governance, which in turn can fuel organized criminal networks. As a result, corruption affects everyone and can lead to less prosperity, less respect for rights and less provision of services.
Corruption erodes democratic institutions and undermines the rule of law. There is no country or territory untouched by this threat. Prof Soyinka – the Nobel Prize winner so aptly put it when he stated in his memorial lecture in the Conference of International Investigators held in Tunis this year : ” …. Such are the dynamics that surround that resilient scourge [corruption] to which every community of humans is prone, and for which such afflicted societies try to find creative solutions – state induced or civic voluntary. I do not know of any nation that is exempt. They all do differ however in degree, in the nature of opportunity, but most important of all – from my point of view – in levels of tolerance”.
This year’s theme: Zero Corruption – 100% Development resonates with the Bank’s zero tolerance policy. The African Development Bank has made governance one of the pillars of its Long -Term Strategy (2013–2022). Our Governance Action Plan sets out a series of ambitious objectives at the sector, country and regional levels. The African Development Bank views good governance and anti-corruption strategies as important to mission of poverty alleviation.
Projects funded by international development banks may appear to provide easy targets for corruption perhaps because these funds are wrongly perceived as coming “from outside”. When lucrative contracts are up for grabs, bribery, fraud and embezzlement can plague large-scale infrastructure projects. Corruption can lead to money being stolen and infrastructure not being built or it can result in half-built or sub-standard – and at times dangerous – infrastructure.
International Anti-Corruption Day is a time for reflection and refocusing on our anti-corruption strategy. The African Development Bank is already playing a leading role in implementing an integrity and anti-corruption regime that safeguards development resources and ensures value-for-money in all its operations. But we need to have unity of purpose. As such, I take this opportunity to call on all of you, staff and stakeholders to firmly reject corruption. We need your help to assist the millions of African people whose lives are affected by corruption.