European shocker ……
News of the “breathtaking” level of corruption in the European Union, as one EU commissioner put it, got major play in media around the world. The EU’s first-ever anti-corruption report put the cost at $185 billion a year, equal to the annual EU budget. Urban development, construction and healthcare are the major risk sectors, particularly at the local and regional level, the report found. Eastern European countries and Greece had the worst scores.
Zero tolerance ……
WASHINGTON – Bill Gates is right: corruption isn’t nearly the barrier to development that most people think it is, reports Charles Kenny, a fellow at the Center for Global Development in a column in Bloomberg Business Week.
In his annual letter for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the multi-billionaire caused a stir by calling corruption a tax on development but not large enough to justify withdrawing aid and not nearly the problem some describe. The benefits from aid far outstrip the harm caused by corruption, Gates said. Kenny in his column agreed. Critics should call for zero tolerance of poverty, which is far greater than the stain of corruption, he said.
Runaway spending ….
SYDNEY - Australia’s rail system is facing its first major corruption inquiry in more than five years, after a senior RailCorp manager was alleged to have solicited more than $1 million from public officials and contractors to give to his daughter, the Sydney Morning Herald reports. The Independent Commission Against Corruption will hold public hearings this month into Joseph Camilleri, who until early last year was RailCorp's general manager of maintenance contracts.
Squandered riches ……
MALABO – The tiny oil-rich nation of Equatorial Guinea is perhaps the world’s best example of the resource curse, where a small elite captures untold wealth from its natural resource extraction, leaving the majority of the population in extreme poverty, the Financial Times reports in a feature on the country.
Gold diggers …..
CAPE TOWN – Investing in African Mining Indaba, the world’s largest mining investment event, is in full swing through Feb. 6 in this South African city. The annual conference brings together mining CEOs, investors and government ministers to discuss the outlook for the industry in Africa, which has prospered in the last decade because of a commodities boom. But NGOs are asking whether governments are using enough of that money to address poverty and forward development. Follow on Twitter at #MiningIndaba