This afternoon, I went to hear about the impact that corruption is having on development and continue to realise that this is a MASSIVE issue that needs a lot of badgering.
Africa loses around $148 billion from corruption every year, money that could be invested in basic necessities like water, sanitation and taking care of pregnant women. One of the speakers estimated that for every $1 that developing countries receive in aid, they lose $10 through ‘illicit financial flows’. Sounds complicated but it basically means that AID money is being shifted around the world through corruption and tax evasion. This doesn’t seem right – not when 4000 children under 5 die every day from preventable causes like diarrhoea.
The speakers all agreed that tackling corruption should supplement aid and shouldn’t replace it. Well-spent aid can get more children into school, can support those living with HIV and can improve water and sanitation facilities – it can make a real difference. But it goes hand in hand with tackling corruption and making sure that Governments around the world are accountable to their citizens – people like you and me – for how they spend public money. By publishing more information and being more transparent about how money is spent, both Governments and mult-national corporations can play a part in tackling corruption – and save lives as a result!
One of my friends Jean-Valery from Micah Challenge Haiti was speaking about this just the other night. He reckons that tackling corruption and good governance is the NUMBER ONE priority for Haiti, and that without good governance, Haiti which is currently the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, won’t be able to meet the MDGs.
A lot to think about!