Corruption and its Greater Impact on Developing Countries

Corruption affects the democracy, economic growth and competitiveness of nations, which is why its impact is greater in developing countries.

This scourge takes advantage of social and economic inequality and the weakness of democratic institutions to advance in society. In turn, the impact it produces is an obstacle for developing countries to strengthen their institutions, get out of poverty and progress.

Analyzing corruption

The Corruption Perception Index 2018, published by Transparency International, reveals that most countries are unable to control the problem. Indicates that undermines democracy and it generates a vicious cycle that causes the deterioration of democratic institutions. They are progressively losing their ability to control this disease.

Corruption perception map

It is no coincidence that among the most corrupt countries in the world, according to the NGO Transparency International, are Syria, Somalia, Nicaragua and Venezuela. All countries affected by wars or serious institutional crises with a tendency to authoritarianism.

Corruption is difficult to define because it is a complex and multidimensional problem. It is about the abuse of public or private power by an individual or group to obtain economic, political or social gain. It occurs in public administration, in corporations and private companies, in public and private institutions and in politics.

It is approached from different perspectives: legal, legal, political, economic, sociological, business, criminal, institutional.

Threats of corruption

The consequences of this evil in society are manifested in different areas:

  • It weakens democracy, institutions and the rule of law.
  • Rulers, officials and politicians lose credibility and distrust is generated among citizens. Leadership is questioned, just as the political system itself is questioned.
  • End the rent and wastes the resources of the countries, causes poverty and deaths.
  • It causes less resources to be allocated to plans and programs aimed at the development of the nation.
  • It makes public administration less efficient.
  • By weakening institutions, favors organized crime, as it facilitates drug trafficking, money laundering and human trafficking.

Another threat is that it can permeate the entire society. It can be taken as a paradigm to make money and move up socially, especially if there is impunity for those who commit this crime. As Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations, has said, “corruption breeds more corruption and fosters a destructive culture of impunity”.

In addition, it may happen that people, because of their political preferences and sympathies, justify the corrupt practices of leaders and politicians. Or that he does it just because the ruler is giving him some benefit through a social program.

Corrupt governments tend to use the needs of the population to buy votes and provide subsidies. It is a practice that threatens democracy because it discredits the State.

What to do to stop it?

The fight against corruption is essential for development. According to the United Nations Development Program, each year a trillion dollars are paid in bribes. An estimated $ 2.6 trillion is stolen annually through corruption, equivalent to more than 5% of the world’s gross domestic product. Ten times more money is lost in developing countries than is spent on official development assistance.

Transparency International proposes that governments take measures to fight corruption and to strengthen democracy.

The organization recommends countries strengthen institutions who exercise control and balance over political power, ensuring that they act without intimidation.

Governments have to bridge the gap between existing anti-corruption legislation and its actual practice and application.

In addition, they must support civil society organizations and citizens, motivate them to participate in politics, and monitor public spending. For example, using digital platforms so that the public can track the progress of projects.

Necessary monitor political discourse that presents the fight against corruption as a banner with the intention of undermining democracy. This speech is considered risky for the progress of the countries because of its true intention. It really seeks to capture the preferences of citizens to bring authoritarian or populist politicians to power.

Another recommendation is support the independence and security of the media and journalists. Governments must ensure that they work without harassment so that they can investigate and report corrupt practices. They must also work to guarantee freedom of expression and information for all citizens.

Likewise, a greater cooperation between countries to fight against a problem that affects them all to a lesser or greater extent. For this, there is the United Nations Convention against Corruption, which includes international cooperation, prevention, criminalization and recovery of assets.

Among its recommendations is that measures be taken to increase transparency in campaign financing for candidates and political parties.

The convention establishes that the following crimes must be classified:

  • Bribery of public officials and in the private sector.
  • Fraud and misappropriation.
  • Money laundering.
  • The obstruction of justice.
  • Influence peddling.
  • The abuse of power.
  • Illicit enrichment.

The perspective defended by the United Nations is that citizens cannot get used to this practice or resign themselves to seeing it as a “way of life”. Recommends people to join the fight against corruption to reap the benefits of a transparent and fair society.

No country is immune from corruptionBut developing nations are more vulnerable to this problem that hampers their progress. Fighting it is as complex as the corrupt practices themselves. To face it, it is essential that democracy and justice be strengthened.

Also, that citizens get involved from their spaces to monitor the execution of government works, and to educate and raise awareness about the problem. Avoiding committing crimes of corruption in daily life is another way to reduce the global effects of the problem from the local level.

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