Briefing Document / Aug. 27, 2013

Bond Anti-Corruption Group

The Bond Corruption Group is made up of likeminded British NGOs who, through their work, witness the devastating effects of corruption on developing countries every day. Our experience has taught us that corruption continues to be one of the biggest obstacles to development, poverty alleviation and good governance. Our aim is to draw attention to the impact of corruption on developing countries and provide a platform for the voices of our partners and southern civil society organizations to be heard in the UK. We intend to use our joint influence to campaign for changes in policy which will help bring an end to corruption around the world.

Bond Anti-Corruption Paper

Corruption has devastating effects on developing economies and their citizens’ quality of life. Its cost in Africa alone has been estimated at US$148 billion a year, representing 25% of the continent’s GDP. Corruption undermines economic growth rates and cripples public services, as money which should be destined for re-investment and public expenditure finds its way into private bank accounts, often abroad.

The size of financial flows from developing countries into the rich world that deprive poor countries of revenue has been estimated at up to $1 trillion each year. These flows, which include state looting, tax evasion and abusive tax avoidance, rob developing countries of much needed revenue and therefore seriously undermine the impact of development assistance from the developed world. Tackling these flows will require measures which provide greater transparency.

Corruption seriously damages attainment of the Millennium Development Goals. It undermines good governance and tends to permeate all levels of society precluding the poorest from access to basic services and creating barriers to business. Corruption remains one of the major impediments to poverty alleviation, development, good governance and stability, and is a proven source of conflict and insecurity.

This paper sets out to raise awareness of the numerous different ways in which corruption is fuelled and facilitated by external actors, and points towards actions the UK government needs to take to curb it. So far the UK government has largely focused on the new Bribery Act, which is certainly necessary and which Bond welcomes. But corruption goes way beyond bribery and the remit of the Ministry of Justice and DFID. To make any real inroads into overseas corruption the government must develop a cross-Whitehall anti-corruption framework. This document sets out the main external drivers of corruption over which the UK has control and outlines the policy responses needed to effectively address the problem.