A Comparative Assessment of Regional Trends and Aspects Related to Control of Corruption in the Middle East and North Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Former Soviet Union

This report analyses the status and dynamics of the control of corruption in five world regions: the Middle East and North Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Former Soviet Union. The diverse nature of corruption across the globe is shown by the huge variance within each single region; this variety of corruption is not only related to degrees of corruption but also to the peculiarities and effects of opportunities and constraints for corruption and the trajectories control of corruption or the lack thereof. In the MENA region material resources are abundant, while constraints are weak. Corruption prevails as a persistent social practice and a political strategy. Apart from few but notable exceptions, most countries in Asia and the Pacific as well as in Sub-Saharan Africa perform very poorly on control of corruption. Many of the small Caribbean island states have curbed corruption effectively, but the control of corruption in Latin American region shows little progress otherwise. The Former Soviet Union shows the lowest degree of the control of corruption worldwide. Existing evidence from regional achievers provide multiple insights into the dynamics for the control of corruption. Across these five regions two different pathways stand out: first, authoritarian regimes, with the strong willingness to reduce opportunities and strengthen (nondemocratic) restraints, and, second, democratic regimes with a strong and independent anti-corruption legislation, which is backed up by an independent judiciary have been able to successfully fight corruption. The report draws on the model of control of corruption as a balance between resources and constraints (Mungiu-Pippidi et al. 2011) to review in more detail the contributing factors. These continental comparisons complement the background reports of ‘achiever countries’.

Initiatives to Increase Transparency in Elections in Latin America

An article by Marta Erquicia on Transparency International’s blog talks about civil society initiatives to monitor elections in four Latin American countries in the last months. The projects focused on the use of new technologies and social media to provide information to the public and collect reports of electoral violations.

In Argentina, for instance, TI’s national chapter Poder Ciudadano launched the campaign “Quién te banca?” (“Who is supporting you?”) to inform citizens about campaign funding and spending. Another initiative in partnership with other NGOs, called “Vota Inteligente”, published election programmes as a way to make voters better informed about what candidates stood for. A web platform allowed voters to identify candidates whose political positions were closest to their own.

In Nicaragua, an online application was created by the organization Etica y Transparencia to allow voters to report violations on election day. A similar initiative was implemented in Guatemala, where over 500 complaints were registered.

TI’s national chapter in Colombia also created an innovative tool to increase transparency about campaign funds. The software Cuentas Claras became very successful as a campaign finance reporting system, as it was used by many candidates and was later adoped by the National Electoral Council as the official application to ensure accountability of election campaigns.

Read the full article “Latin American elections: how to use social media to promote transparency” on blog.transparency.org. The picture featured above is from elespectador.com