Edited by Barry Rider
Chapter 33: Corruption and international development assistance
Corruption has been increasingly gaining attention in the sphere of international development. The phenomenon is being linked to a wide range of other developmental issues, including undermining democratic institutions, slowing economic development, contributing to government instability, poverty and inequality, among others. For example, the foreword to the text of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) refers to the phenomenon as ‘an insidious plague that has a wide range of corrosive effects on societies’, further stating that corruption ‘is a key element in economic underperformance and a major obstacle to poverty alleviation and development’. As such, corruption has become not only an issue dealt with by justice and law enforcement institutions, but also organisations delivering international development assistance as well as government departments for international development. This chapter will address the effectiveness of two approaches to tackling corruption adopted by the aforementioned organisations: international legal and overseas development assistance (ODA) efforts to fight corruption. First of all, it is important to clearly define the phenomenon that is to be addressed and concentrate efforts to tackle it, as the resources at the disposal of organisations working in international development are inevitably limited and, if spread too thinly, risk failing to achieve significant results (in turn potentially resulting in donor fatigue).
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