Friday, November 11, 2011

Fighting against corruption : Transparency International really independent?

(The Daily IIJ) ‘Your country has been placed among the highly corrupt countries in the world because it doesn’t contribute (to TI’s budget)’. This joking statement addressed by an African journalist to his Afghan colleague after a conference on Transparency International (TI) in Berlin illustrates perfectly the suspicion prejudice many people may have about TI. 


This non-governmental organization committed to the promotion of good governance in the world is funded by diverse sources; among them governments of some wealthy and industrialized countries.

The TI financial dependence brings some people to question the credibility of the anti-corruption institution. To them, it (TI) may be sometimes confronted to a dilemma situation. Being grateful to major political donors or denounce corruption situations of which it (TI) has been informed in these privileged donors’ countries.

Transparency International is a big organization, having bureaus and person contacts in more than 90 countries. Its time-consuming and costly surveys cannot be self-financed. Its annual income in 2010, for example, was 18.027 euros. 75% of this amount was funded by governments. Having recourse to external financial sources becomes therefore a necessity.
But for many observers, this funding system may influence TI’s activities that are orientated as well against corruption as toward promotion of good governance principles.
Opposing strong arguments, the organization claims its total independence, which can be described through its transparent procedures.

Apart from surveys realized in different countries, TI mostly uses data produced by international independent organizations such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) that are very credible sources, according to Sophie Brown, Communications Department official at Transparency International headquarters in Berlin.

Corruption and mismanagement situations have been reported about some TI’s chapters – for example in Kenya – but for Sophie Brown, these are isolated cases that can, by no means, hinder the credibility of the anti-corruption institution.

To reinforce its credibility, Transparency International has formulated in 2010 a strategy which will guide the action of the organization for the next five years. One of the six priorities is to raise ‘levels of integrity demonstrated by organizations and people, especially youth and those in leadership positions around the world’. From now on, a lot of actions of prevention of corruption will be implemented.

Minakpon Stanislas HOUNKANLIN

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