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No more empty promises

The week in corruption

Transparency Int'l

Pinky swears are promises that cannot be broken. The tradition supposedly originates in Japan — which is where G20 leaders are meeting this week. Incidentally, they also have promises to keep.

China, Mexico and Russia are just a few examples of countries represented at this year’s G20 summit that are failing to enforce their laws and promises against corruption, and in particular foreign bribery.

International bribery is one of the many ways in which corruption heavily impacts sustainable development and economic growth. It hinders fair access to markets as well as progress on today’s most pressing issues like education, healthcare, gender equality and the climate crisis.

However, other forms of corruption also impede inclusive growth. To make economic development work for all, anti-corruption should be mainstreamed into every decision and policy, and not left in a silo or as lofty promises.

That means taking concrete action.

As long as public money is lost due to dodgy procurement and anonymous shell companies, citizens will lose trust in their governments’ decisions.

To curb this, G20 governments must enable clean contracting provisions, publish open registers of beneficial owners of companies, and create strong whistleblower protection.

In short, G20 leaders should focus on implementing their commitments and not feel tempted to keep making promises. After all, why make new promises when the previous ones haven’t been kept?

What do you think? Let us know @anticorruption or join the conversation using #G20takeaction.

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