Don’t Let High Tech Have the Last Say in Risky Emerging Markets

Tags

, ,

Photo Credit: OECD

By Louisa Tomar, Program Officer with CIPE’s Global Team

It goes without saying that cutting-edge technologies are transforming the way multi-national companies and government agencies provide goods and services. At the same time, much of the developing world continues to rely on relatively low-tech solutions to tackle complex problems like poor service delivery, weak governance, trade barriers, and corruption. This disparity is what brings the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE)  to this year’s Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Anti-Corruption and Integrity Forum. CIPE will be leveraging the experiences of partners from two emerging markets to discuss how local business communities are using technology to fight corruption and how they can benefit from global tech innovation.

Local businesses, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and family-run firms, are vital elements of global supply chains. From a corruption point of view, SMEs also represent an outsized part of the corruption risk in global value chain.  Read More...

Searching for Transparency in the Maldives

Tags

, , ,

Photo Credit: Frank Brown

By Frank Brown, Director of CIPE’s Anti-Corruption and Governance Center

For an organization that specializes in bringing corruption to light, exposing hidden deals, and calling public attention to injustice, Transparency Maldives is hard to find. Its offices are located in a nondescript concrete building with no number on it, down an unmarked road just off the capital city’s main shopping street. One button marked “TM” next to a steel-grated door is the only indication that the group’s bustling offices are located above.

As an independent voice at a time of intense public outrage over years of corrupt government deals, Transparency Maldives staff sometimes attract unwanted attention, such as death threats. It is certainly a twist that the institution with a huge role at a pivotal point in the Maldives’ history must keep a low physical profile to remain in existence.

Now is a tricky time for the Maldives, a sprawling, idyllic archipelago of 187 islands inhabited by some 400,000 people.  Read More...

FIFA and Corruption: An Eye Towards the Women’s World Cup

Tags

, , ,

Photo Credit: ShareAlike 2.0

By Eliza Pugh, Program Coordinator with CIPE’s Program Coordination Unit

This June, women from the world’s top 24 national soccer teams will play in nine cities across France in the most acclaimed tournament of their lives. The Women’s World Cup, like the men’s, is organized and run by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). FIFA has long been embroiled in corruption schemes, the most recent of which was in May 2015 when 14 high-level officials were indicted on charges having to do with soliciting over $150 million in bribes over a 24-year period. The same conditions that allowed FIFA officials to invite such lavish gift-giving and under-the-table bribes are the same conditions that continue to allow FIFA to display inequitable treatment of men’s and women’s teams.

FIFA has a history of maintaining different standards for the Men’s and Women’s World Cups. In the 2015 Women’s World Cup, the 24 teams split a mere $15 million in prize money[1], stayed in the same hotels as opponents[2], and played on less desirable and less safe artificial turf fields[3]  – none of which would have happened in the men’s tournament.  Read More...

Collective Action: A Cause for Hope

Tags

Image Credit: Thai Institute of Directors

By Caroline Elkin, Assistant Program Officer with CIPE’s Europe and Eurasia team.

On December 5, CIPE hosted the Private Sector Collective Action to Counter Corruption Summit in Kyiv, Ukraine. The event gathered participants from business, government, civil society, and international organizations, representing Armenia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Nigeria, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, and the United States, among others. This is the third in a series of blogs based on the summit. 

What do we talk about when we talk about corruption? The anti-corruption movement has made significant strides in raising awareness of the specter of corruption through investigative reporting and advocacy. But the staggering price tag of corruption worldwide, combined with the ever-growing list of newly uncovered scandals, can leave the counterproductive impression that corruption is intractable.

Indeed, research into the link between development aid and corruption shows that, in some cases, the more you talk about corruption, the more people perceive the problem to be hopeless.  Read More...

Armenia: Promoting Anti-Corruption Conduct and Reforms

Photo credit: Armenian Lawyer’s Association

By Liza Lenz Jedwab, Assistant Program Officer with CIPE’s Europe Eurasia team, and Monica Nates, Program Assistant with CIPE

Until recently, democratic reform in Armenia seemed unlikely, with oligarchs maintaining a tight grip on the country’s economy and political agenda. For years, observers such as Freedom House had classified Armenia as a semi-consolidated authoritarian state. However, through massive street protests that erupted in spring 2018, the Armenian public pushed back on decades of systemic corruption and shifted the country’s outlook. In a country of 3 million citizens, a quarter million Armenians flooded the streets of the capital and other cities, pushing President Serzh Sargsian to resign as prime minister, with opposition leader Nikol Pashinian elected in his place.

Pashinian quickly put fighting corruption at the center of his policy platform. That decision was validated by Parliamentary elections in December that gave his party 70 percent of the voteRead More...

Armenian Businesses Commit to Compliance

Tags

,

Photo credit: Armenian Lawyer’s Association

This blog originally appeared on the FCPA Blog, linked here.

By Natalia Otel Belan and Yulia Glubokaya, respectively the regional director for Europe and Eurasia at the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) and the deputy director for compliance at VimpelCom Russia.

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in emerging markets in Eurasia must demonstrate the ability to assess and mitigate corruption risks in order to do business with multinational firms. The vast majority of SMEs in the region are unable to do so. While corruption risks remain high, these firms are unable to access opportunities for growth. Until recently, Armenia was a case in point.

As discussed here by our colleague Katya Lysova, Armenia now has significant political momentum to fight corruption and the business community wants to do the “right thing.” To support this extraordinary opening, CIPE has recently launched an anti-corruption compliance program for the Armenian business community.  Read More...

The Price We Pay: What Does Corruption Cost?

Photo credit: CIPE

By Caroline Elkin, Program Assistant with CIPE’s Europe and Eurasia team.

On December 5, CIPE hosted the Private Sector Collective Action to Counter Corruption Summit in Kyiv, Ukraine. The event gathered participants from business, government, civil society, and international organizations, representing Armenia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Nigeria, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, and the United States, among others. This is the second in a series of blogs based on the summit. 

In the past ten years, the OECD, World Bank, IMF, Transparency International and leading scholars have published dozens of empirical studies showing how corruption, in its different shapes and forms, negatively affect every economic parameter. Worldwide, all citizens – not just businesspeople – are subject to a “corruption tariff” that makes buying and selling goods and services more expensive.

How do you measure the effects of that tariff? Numerous studies and investigative reports have revealed the financial value of bribes paid within a specific sector or infrastructure project.  Read More...

Building Foundations: Countering Corruption in Difficult Environments

Photo credit: CIPE

By Caroline Elkin, Program Assistant with CIPE’s Europe and Eurasia team.

On December 5, CIPE hosted the Private Sector Collective Action to Counter Corruption Summit in Kyiv, Ukraine. The event gathered participants from business, government, civil society, and international organizations, representing Armenia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Nigeria, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, and the United States, among others. This is the first in a series of blogs based on the summit. 

When you think of an anti-corruption activist, what comes to mind? Perhaps it’s someone you follow on Twitter, or a civil society organization that focuses on unearthing politicians’ corrupt acts.

These figures make real contributions to the fight against corruption. They attract public attention within their own country and from abroad. They push the envelope by challenging political elites. But in countries at war, with repressive regimes, undergoing post-conflict reconstruction, or undergoing financial crises, it is nearly impossible for individual activists acting alone to achieve change.  Read More...

Notes from Copenhagen

Plenary session at the 18th International Anti-Corruption Conference, Copenhagen, Denmark, October 22-24, 2018. Photo Credit: Carmen Stanila

By Carmen Stanila, a Senior Consultant for CIPE based in Bucharest

It is the largest, most diverse gathering of anti-corruption advocates, experts, funders, and practitioners in the world. The latest edition of the International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) gathered over 1,800 people from 144 countries in Copenhagen. Three days of uplifting plenary sessions, results-oriented breakout sessions, and countless peer-to-peer exchanges made for an intense atmosphere at the dynamic October event attended by this writer and two CIPE staffers.

The 18th IACC’s declaration captured the priorities of a group that ranged from top government officials from wealthy nations to anti-corruption activists from some of the most corrupt, dangerous places in the world. Entitled “Stand Together for Peace, Security and Development,” the declaration calls for protecting civil liberties and civil society, combatting money laundering and illegal financial flows, boosting private sector transparency, and empowering those who expose corruption.  Read More...

Five Lessons from Compliance Training for Non-Profits in South Africa

Tags

, ,

Photo Credit: Wybrand Ganzevoort

By Wybrand Ganzevoort of Collective Value Creation and Gail Styger of The Wot If? Trust

In October 2018, Collective Value Creation (CVC), an organization that trains and coaches businesses, teamed with CIPE to train South African non-profit organizations on how to reduce corruption risks.

Over the past ten years, South Africa’s rank on Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index has deteriorated from 51 to 78. During this time, a number of corruption scandals dominated public discourse, underscoring how corruption is a growing challenge in South Africa. In this environment, CVC and CIPE have often worked with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to help them reduce their corruption-related risks. What made October’s training different was that it focused on non-profits, an often-overlooked group when it comes to corruption risks. Through the training CVC and CIPE learned five key lessons about the corruption challenges faced by such groups in South Africa.  Read More...