In a series of speeches he delivered shortly after taking office in 2012, Chinese President Xi Jinping cast corruption as not merely a significant problem for his country but an existential threat. Endemic corruption, he warned, could lead to “the collapse of the [Chinese Communist] Party and the downfall of the state.”
In Africa, the most daunting obstacle to economic growth is rampant corruption that robs citizens of billions of dollars every year. Improving governance in the extractive industries—which are particularly prone to corruption—would go a long way toward achieving more robust and inclusive prosperity, write Stewart M. Patrick and Isabella Bennett.
"Many international development organizations hold that persistent poverty in the Global South is caused largely by corruption among local public officials. In 2003 these concerns led to the United Nations Convention against Corruption, which asserts that, while corruption exists in all countries, this 'evil phenomenon' is 'most destructive' in the global South, where it is a 'key element in economic underperformance and a major obstacle to poverty alleviation and development.' There's only one problem with this theory: It's just not true."
"As western nations ring-fenced Iran's banks, they created a temporary market where gold could be used to pay Iran for its only major export: oil and gas. That chaotic marketplace created opportunities for men like Sarraf. He used his connections in Iran and Turkey to move almost a metric ton of gold to Iran every day for 1 1/2 years, according to a person familiar with his finances."
"The Corruption Perceptions Index ranks countries and territories based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be. A country or territory's score indicates the perceived level of public sector corruption on a scale of 0–100, where 0 means that a country is perceived as highly corrupt and 100 means it is perceived as very clean. A country's rank indicates its position relative to the other countries and territories included in the index. This year's index includes 177 countries and territories."
"The entire success of an international intervention can be put in jeopardy if corruption is not addressed early on in the process. Corruption in conflict can perpetuate violence and opens the door to organised crime. Yet guidance on preventing corruption is largely absent from almost everything to do with peacekeeping."
Still in its infancy, the international anti-corruption movement has the potential to enhance and augment human-rights rhetoric enormously. Both rely on arguments about justice, fairness, and the rule of law.
Elizabeth C. Economy says corruption and the failure to develop rule of law in China now define much of the country's political and economic life. With Xi Jinping poised to take over, the focus should be on significant political reform.
Authors: Terra Lawson-Remer and Joshua Greenstein Africa in Fact
Terra Lawson-Remer and Joshua Greenstein say, "Many resource-rich African countries make poor use of their wealth... Instead of creating prosperity, resources have too often fostered corruption, undermined inclusive economic growth, incited armed conflict and damaged the environment."
In his testimony before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Middle East and South Asia, Elliott Abrams argues that "corruption is an insidious destroyer not only of Palestinian public finance but of faith in the entire political system."
CFR Senior Fellow Isobel Coleman speaks with Boris Weber, director of ICT4Gov at the World Bank Institute, on how technology is being leveraged to promote good governance and increased transparency in fragile states and emerging markets.
Speaker: Jose W. Fernandez Presider: Isobel Coleman
Jose W. Fernandez, assistant secretary of state for economic and business affairs, speaks about the State Department's work in North Africa, with a focus on fostering entrepreneurship, building public-private partnerships, and stamping out corruption.
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The authors argue that the United States has responded inadequately to the rise of Chinese power and recommend placing less strategic emphasis on the goal of integrating China into the international system and more on balancing China's rise.
Campbell evaluates the implications of the Boko Haram insurgency and recommends that the United States support Nigerian efforts to address the drivers of Boko Haram, such as poverty and corruption, and to foster stronger ties with Nigerian civil society.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2014 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass. Read and download »