Wolfowitz links corruption to poverty
Monday, September 18, 2006
We feel very strongly that when there is systemic corruption in a country, to great levels, then the resources do not reach the poor,” said Huguette Labelle, president of Transparency International, a private corruption watchdog.
“There are so many countries that should be very rich today because of their natural resources, but they’re not,” Labelle told delegates attending the World Bank meetings.
Governments, companies and financial institutions must unite against corruption to fight poverty and political instability, World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz said Sunday.
Wolfowitz said the topic would top the agenda when the bank’s development committee ? its main policy-setting body ? meets Monday.
The committee was to discuss a strategy paper on the subject, Wolfowitz said, adding that he felt there was a growing concensus on the urgency of the issue.
“It’s a hard fight. You don’t win it overnight,” he said.
Wolfowitz and other experts urged support for World Bank efforts to improve its own management while promoting anti-graft efforts in countries receiving the bank’s loans.
“This reflects a recognition that better governance … is the key to reduction of poverty,” he said, noting that endemic corruption tends to result in lower economic growth, higher child mortality and other risks to public welfare.
“At its worst, poor governance can lead to political collapse,” Wolfowitz said.
The World Bank, whose aim is to reduce poverty through providing development loans, has taken an increasingly hard line on corruption. At its annual meeting in Singapore, delegates are focusing on the issues of graft and on ways to help development in Africa.
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