Counting the Cost

Corruption: Is enough being done?

A look at accountability in managing corruption. Plus, Rousseff’s impeachment and the challenges that Brazil is facing.

Britain’s prime Minister David Cameron sparked a political “row” with Afghanistan and Nigeria this week during the London-held anti-corruption summit, when he described the two countries as “fantastically corrupt” in what was thought to be a private conversation with the Queen.

An uncomfortable situation to be sure, but one that highlights the dangerously casual nature of the issue.

Figures released by Transparency International, the global coalition against corruption, demonstrate the real cost of corruption – at least one in four people around the world has paid a bribe when dealing with key public institutions, and in little over a decade, more than $12 trillion has been siphoned out of emerging economies. 

Even more alarming, some figures estimate the yearly cost of corruption to equate to 5% of the total global GDP. That is $2.6 trillion annually. 

In his speech during the anti-corruption summit, Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari demanded no apology from the British prime minister. Instead, he made a request – for Britain to step up its anti-corruption activity. Local opinions in Kabul and Abuja, however, aren’t quite as forgiving. How could Cameron point the finger of blame when governments were being toppled and built back up by the West? 

We speak to British MP (Conservative Party) Nigel Mills about the increase of public awareness around government corruption, what is being done to address the issue worldwide and how the conversation can be kept alive in order to pursue the best possible solutions. 

Also on this episode of Counting the Cost: 

Brazil’s uncertain future: With President Dilma Rousseff now suspended, is Brazil moving into a calmer period or one of more uncertainty? The country’s fortunes have plummeted from the days of Lula da Silva, and interim President Michel Temer now has to find a way to bring stability to Brazil. Although there is a general air of relief and positivity surrounding Temer stepping in for Rousseff, the long-term damage caused by the year-long impeachment scandal remains an enormous mountain to climb – or recover from – for any leader. We speak to Gustavo Rangel, Chief Latin America Economist at ING Global Markets in New York, about the challenges Brazil is facing and how the impeachment can be seen as a positive step forward for the country.  

The Philippines’ economic rush: The voters believe a man dubbed “The Punisher” is the man to lead their country as president. But while Rodrigo Duterte wants to punish crime and corruption, he has to make sure he doesn’t punish the economy, which is one of the strongest in Asia. The Philippines boasts the third fastest growing economy in Asia after China and Vietnam, but how will Duterte’s hardline rules – including curfews for under-18s and a ban on selling alcohol after hours – affect this period of growth? We ask Reuben Mondejar, professor at the City University of Hong Kong, about what to expect from this new government in terms of sustaining and building on the country’s current economic growth.