Corruption affects us all. Resources are used for the wrong purposes and are unfairly divided. It weakens our democracy and trust in our leaders. It eats away at our ethics and corrodes our moral fibre. It discourages public and private investment. It slows down economic growth and development.
The annual cost of corruption is estimated as $1 trillion.
Official global aid flows in 2016 were $146 billion.
The cost of corruption in Africa alone is estimated at US$ 148 billion a year, 25% of the continent’s GDP and about 300% of foreign aid it receives. Two thirds of all countries surveyed score below 50 (out of 100) on TI’s Annual Corruption Perception Index.
Most importantly, corruption is especially damaging to the poor and is referred to, by the World Bank, as “the greatest obstacle to reducing poverty”. Studies show that poor people pay larger shares of their income in bribes than richer people and are discriminated against in their access to public services. Resources intended for the poor, including international aid, are diverted to enrich corrupt elites. According to Transparency International, “[T]he poor, whether in developing or highly industrialized countries, are the most penalized by corruption. They are also more pessimistic about the prospects for less corruption in the future.”
A leader of Tearfund shares, “We know from our work in Africa, Asia, and Latin America that it is the poorest and most vulnerable people who suffer the most as a result of bribery.”
Corruption undermines church efforts for relief and development. In the last decades, the global church has expanded its mission programs to assist poor communities through education, health, agricultural, micro-finance, and other poverty alleviation programs. These efforts, however, are adversely impacted by corrupt practices that are endemic and pervasive in the respective communities. This may take the form of financial corruption, such as bribery and embezzlement of funds, or other non-financial forms such as unfair use and allocation of resources and opportunities through in-group favoritism and nepotism.