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Monday, February 16, 2004

Export Credit Agencies and Corruption
A new report written by Dr Susan Hawley of The Corner House entitled Underwriting Bribery: Export Credit Agencies and Corruption highlights the hypocrisy of many of the developed world's demands for anti-corruption measures to be tightened in the developing world. This is especially the case while the same level of scutiny is not being applied to the rich world's own backyard. Extracts from the press release include:

The international community is adamant that corruption must be stopped. It is demanding that poorer countries eradicate corruption if they want to be considered eligible for Western aid.

But there is a deep hypocrisy in the international community's approach. At the heart of this are the export credit agencies of industrialised countries.

Export credit agenices use taxpayers' money to insure their domestic companies doing business abroad against risks such as the company not being paid. These agencies support many of the large, mainly Western, companies that continue to bribe their way into getting government contracts from poorer countries.

The price of Western companies' bribery is ultimately paid for by the people of the Southern countries in which the companies operate in the form of increased debts for overpriced + poorly planned projects that often provide little benefit to people or country.

This briefing outlines measures governments export credit agencies should be taking to tighten their anti-corruption procedures.