Making anti-corruption real: how to stop wasting money and start making progress

Tuesday, 29 March 2022

In early 2022, Transparency International reported that ‘corruption levels remain at a standstill worldwide, with 86% of countries making little to no progress in the last 10 years’. The entrenched and sometimes growing levels of corruption in many countries demonstrates the limits of current strategies of anti-corruption and the theories informing them. Results have been poor, and much money has been wasted, because theory and practice have largely ignored the problem of implementation.

If a policy adversely affects powerful individuals and organisations, we shouldn’t be surprised when they try to block or distort its implementation. In developing countries where the rule of law is weak, policies may also be blocked in informal or corrupt ways.

Making anti-corruption real means understanding these processes and ensuring that every anti-corruption strategy has built-in incentives so that actors with the ability to implement these strategies will do so in their own interest.

Over the past 5 years, the SOAS-ACE programme has tested a number of different approaches in a range of countries and sectors to identify feasible and implementable anti-corruption strategies. SOAS-ACE has identified three anti-corruption strategies which offer most potential for reducing corruption.

In this panel discussion we outlined these three approaches, shared case studies and discussed areas of future anti-corruption implementation.

Speakers:

  • Mushtaq Khan, Executive Director, SOAS ACE, SOAS University of London
  • Dina Balabanova, Professor of Health Systems and Policy in the Department of Global Health and Development, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM)
  • Prince Agwu, Researcher, Department of Social Work, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria
  • Anir Chowdhury, Policy Adviser, Aspire to Innovate (a2i), Government of Bangladesh
  • Pallavi Roy, Research Director, SOAS ACE, SOAS University of London

Chair: Peter Evans, Director, U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre