The Star Initiative: Tackling Corruption

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The World Bank has a copy of the speech of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Managing Director of the World Bank Group at the Fight against Corruption conference going on in Bali right now on their web site.

I'd recommend it all, because I agree with large parts of it. Like this:

Collective action against corruption requires the need to balance the burden of responsibilities. This is a fundamental point in the fight against corruption that has been overlooked. For too long the focus of anticorruption efforts has targeted developing countries. Developing countries get named and shamed. Developing countries are rewarded or punished based on compliance with standards set in the developed world. Far too often, the public opinion in developed nations seems to forget that corruption is not a developing country problem only.

Too true: and a point TJN has been pioneering.

As Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala continued:

Developing countries might have a long way to go in improving transparency, accountability, and good governance. However, progress made by these countries will be deemed insufficient, as long as the international financial architecture provides a risk-free alternative for the concealment of stolen funds.

Which fair and square bangs the nail on the head. None of this could happen without the suppliers of corruption services. As Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala puts it:

As long as kleptocrats think that they have a good chance of getting away with their theft, they will be looking for opportunities to steal. Viewed in this way, the failure of the international community to solve this situation actually sabotages (undermines) the efforts undertaken by developing countries.

That's why tax havens have to go. As TJN has long said, they cause poverty. And the world and its bank is beginning to agree.