Corruption and Poverty
Corruption and Poor Governance are two of the biggest barriers to ending extreme poverty and stand in the way of progress in the development of all areas mentioned here; preventing funds reaching healthcare and education, limiting individuals abilities to access jobs and social benefits, corroding systems of law and stopping aid working effectively in the poorest parts of the world. Corruption happens in developed countries as well as the least developed - but corruption in vulnerable communities destroys lives and stops progress.
Corruption is a serious word. It happens everywhere, in London, Tokyo, Delhi, Las Vegas, Lagos and all over the world - but it is the world's most vulnerable communities located in the least developed countries that pay the biggest price.
Corruption erodes the power of ordinary people by diverting resources and decisions away from those who need it, and in many cases, corruption among government officials in developing countries like Nigeria and India can cost the country and the people billions of dollars. For instance in 2004, the World Bank estimated that developing countries in particular lose to up to $100million every year because of corrupt acts.
Take Teodorin Obiang. As the son of Equatorial Guinea's president and dictator, Teodorin bought a super yacht with a cinema for $380 million, and in 2004 to 2006 he spent another $42million on luxury houses and cars... despite earning an official salary of just $60,000 a year. The truth is, Odiang is not alone - members of the Nigerian government are currently awaiting referral to the International Criminal Court (ICC) over the significant claim that endemic corruption in the private sector represents a crime against humanity:
Corruption takes many forms. It could be a bribe that must be paid to access basic rights such as food, education, movement or healthcare, it can take the form of discrimination by making certain services only available to a limited group of people, or it could take the form of commercial or political manipulation to benefit a company or individual unfairly. In all and every case, corruption destroys communities, undermines trust in institutions and the law, and strips ordinary people of opportunities they would have had otherwise: jobs, funds, social security, movemment and lawful representation.
Corruption can mean the difference between life and death. In India,China, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, and other countries, paying a bribe is often neccesary to receive medical treatment and multiple bribes can be paid to multiple doctors. Police and government representatives, traffic controllers and teachers also take bribes - making access to fundamental services difficult, and a key method of enforcement for a culture of corruption. Bribes are often taken by workers in lower positions or basic services as a means to pay other workers for their own services - making corruption a complex and debilllitating cycle of poverty.
According to Transparency International's 2010 report, across the world:
These statistics are shocking, but they affect us all. Come back soon to read more about how corruption is shaping poverty - and what we can do about it.