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World Bank needs to strengthen its anti-corruption work, says Transparency International

TI encourages the World Bank to adopt a 10-point programme Corruption index to be published on 13 September

The World Bank should strengthen its anti-corruption initiatives in developing countries and in the countries in transition in Central and Eastern Europe, says Transparency International (TI), the leading anti-corruption organisation. TI Chairman Dr Peter Eigen said: "The World Bank can play a critical role in countering the global menace of corruption and we believe its work will be improved if it adopts the ten-point programme that we are presenting today."

"We appreciate that the World Bank has taken a fundamentally new approach to corruption in recent years and we commend it for its positive approaches," added Eigen. "But the World Bank can still do far more to assist developing countries to curb the rampant corruption that undermines their progress. Our 10-point agenda advocates broadening anti-corruption approaches in World Bank programmes, enhancing efforts by the Bank to partner with other organisations, reviewing lending programmes to countries that are not pursuing anti-corruption strategies, creating new anti-bribery tools and other vital initiatives."

TI will publish its Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) on September 13, which Dr. Eigen said is expected to leave no doubt that many countries still have a long way to go before governance levels can be regarded as satisfactory. "The new data can only add urgency to the call to the World Bank to do more in this vital area and encourage all official development agencies to strengthen their anti-corruption efforts," said Eigen.

The key topics at the late-September annual meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in Prague, will be different from a year ago, with greater focus on globalisation, debt relief, poverty reduction and AIDS. "Despite this, the fact is that real improvements in any of these areas will not be possible unless corruption is fully addressed and fully recognised as one of the key underlying problems," Eigen said.

Transparency International urges the World Bank to take the following 10 steps to improve its anti-corruption work:

  • Give corruption-related initiatives more priority in broad- based reform efforts like poverty reduction strategies and extend them beyond World Bank-financed loans.
  • Accept that other organisations, including civil society, have comparative advantages in advocacy work and in rebuilding corrupted institutions; actively share the anti-corruption work with these other organisations in line with their particular experience and expertise.
  • Reconsider lending levels for countries which do not have convincing anti-corruption reform programmes in place and which do not collaborate with external efforts to promote such programmes.
  • Require, if corruption is suspected, "Service Delivery Surveys" determining whether public services actually reach the intended beneficiaries, before additional loans are considered.
  • More aggressively promote and finance civil service reform. A key element here is civil service pay: in many countries many civil servants do not even receive a living wage, which adds to the pressures on them to accept bribes.
  • Establish a new vehicle for corruption reduction, an "Integrity Enhancement Programme." This new type of programme would be designed to consolidate a variety of cross-sectoral integrity initiatives of the World Bank. It would not replace, however, anti-corruption efforts accompanying sector specific loans. The new programme would make it easier for the World Bank to effectively reinforce the efforts of other donors and particularly of relevant non-governmental organisations.
  • Introduce a consolidated blacklist of those debarred from further aid-financed business because they had been found to offer or provide bribes in connection with work financed by the World Bank, regional development banks and other aid agencies.
  • Support the application of the Transparency International "Integrity Pact" to major Bank-financed investments, where governments so request. On behalf of local civil society TI has pioneered in several countries this contractual agreement among all parties involved in procurement; it is now applied from Seoul to Milan and Bogota.
  • Devote a larger portion of the World Bank's research budget to corruption reduction, focusing particularly on exploring new approaches to reduce corruption and helping to determine what types of anti-corruption measures work best under which circumstances.
  • Promote major campaigns by the International Finance Corporations (IFC), the World Bank's private sector affiliate, to strengthen business awareness that bribing foreign public officials is now a criminal offence in most exporting countries.

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TI Int’l Secretariat:
Jeff Lovitt
Tel.+49-30-343 8200
Fax+49-30-347 03912

Susan Coté-Freeman
Tel. +44-207-610 1400,
Fax +44-207-610 1550,

Frank Vogl, TI Vice Chairman,
Tel. +1-202-331 8183, Fax +1-202-331 8187

World Bank: