Accountability and transparency key to fighting corruption, says Lagarde

19 Sep 17

New methodologies are needed to quantify and analyse the problem of corruption across the world, IMF managing director Christine Lagarde has said.

Work to fight corruption “begins with initiatives to increase transparency and accountability”, Lagarde said in her opening remarks at an event yesterday convened to consider progress on transparency, anti-corruption and sustainable development.

“This work goes hand in hand with our efforts on regulatory reform and strengthening legal institutions,” she said.

The annual cost of bribery, one subset of corruption, is estimated to be between $1.5-$2 trillion and Lagarde urged IMF members to look at private sector actors who work across borders and can influence public officials.

“Consider just one example – a bribe in the extractive industries. Yes, a local official may demand a bribe, or a government ministry may turn a blind eye, but what about the company who proffers the money? Surely, it participates in the illicit transaction,” Lagarde said.

“After all, for every bribe accepted, one must be offered.”

Reforms suggest by the IMF, including a comprehensive review of national corruption and increased transparency on all major public investments, are only the first step and new policies can take years to become effective, the managing director said.

“Some governments are reluctant to even engage on the issue because they see corruption as a political, and not an economic problem,” Lagarde added.

“But that is no reason to stop pressing forward.”

The event was co-hosted by the World Bank and International Finance Corporation, the Partnership for Transparency’s Anti-Corruption Forum, and the Brookings Institution think-tank.

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