International is a global movement sharing one vision: a world
in which government, business, civil society and the daily
lives of people are free of corruption.
In 1993, a few individuals decided to take a stance against
corruption and created Transparency International. Now present
in more than 100 countries, the movement works relentlessly
to stir the world's collective conscience and bring about
change. Much remains to be done to stop corruption, but much
has also been achieved, including:
creation of international anti-corruption conventions
prosecution of corrupt leaders and seizures of their illicitly
national elections won and lost on tackling corruption
held accountable for their behaviour both at home and
corruption and its costs (as defined by Transparency
International-a global coalition against corruption)
Corruption can be classified as grand, petty and political,
depending on the amounts of money lost and the sector where
it occurs. Grand corruption consists of acts committed at
a high level of government that distort policies or the central
functioning of the state, enabling leaders to benefit at the
expense of the public good. Petty corruption refers to everyday
abuse of entrusted power by low- and mid-level public officials
in their interactions with ordinary citizens, who often are
trying to access basic goods or services in places like hospitals,
schools, police departments and other agencies.
Political corruption is a manipulation of policies, institutions
and rules of procedure in the allocation of resources and
financing by political decision makers, who abuse their position
to sustain their power, status and wealth.
The costs of corruption
It costs lives. Short of this, it costs people their freedom,
health or money. The cost of corruption can be divided into
four main categories: political, economic, social and environmental.
On the political front, corruption is a major obstacle to
democracy and the rule of law.This is harmful in established
democracies, but even more so in newly emerging ones. It is
extremely challenging to develop accountable political leadership
in a corrupt climate.
Economically, corruption depletes national wealth. Corrupt
politicians invest scarce public resources in projects that
will line their pockets rather than benefit communities, and
prioritise high-profile projects such as dams, power plants,
pipelines and refineries over less spectacular but more urgent
infrastructure projects such as schools, hospitals and roads.
Corruption also hinders the development of fair market structures
and distorts competition, which in turn deters investment.
Corruption corrodes the social fabric of society. It undermines
people's trust in the political system, in its institutions
and its leadership.
Environmental degradation is another consequence of corrupt
systems. The lack of, or non-enforcement of, environmental
regulations and legislation means that precious natural resources
are carelessly exploited, and entire ecological systems are