How to catalyze innovation to end corruption


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World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva giving opening remarks at a high-level anti-corruption event at the Spring meetings.
World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva giving opening remarks at a high-level anti-corruption event at the 2018 Spring Meetings of the IMF and the World Bank Group. Photo: World Bank

We have to fight corruption by making sure it doesn’t happen in the first place and use technology to give every citizen a voice in this effort, said World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva in her opening remarks at a high-level event last Wednesday where leaders from government, the private sector, civil society, media, and academia discussed how to catalyze innovation to end corruption.

During a lively discussion, Thuli Madonsela, an Advocate of the High Court of South Africa, emphasized that public officials must have a track record of the highest standard and integrity . Peter Solmssen, Former General Counsel of Siemens AG, and AIG encouraged building trust that can lead to embracing the private sector as a potential partner.

Over the last two decades we have learned that to be effective you can’t confront corruption the same way in countries at different points on the economic ladder , said Alina Mungiu-Pippidi, an author of a book on the topic. Journalists can be a critical force to help expose corruption and make sure the public is well informed with quality data, said Gianina Segnini of Columbia University. Chris White of Microsoft said technology can be leveraged to help end corruption by allowing us to see anomalies and other indications of possible bad conduct we couldn’t see before .

Towards the end of the full-house event, audiences asked thought-provoking questions, and the panelists unequivocally agreed that technology alone is not a solution in itself, which is why all sectors need to work together to end corruption.

If you missed the event, replay the video and tell us what you think in the comments or by using #EndCorruption hashtag.

Join the Conversation

Basil Ogbozor
April 23, 2018

I quite appreciate the important role technology has to play in the fight to end corruption. However, especially with respect to developing countries like Nigeria, the fastest way to end corruption is by statutorily entrenching freedom of information in our public and private sectors of the economy as well as by effectively incentivising people to whistle-blow against corrupt practices anytime, anywhere, without undue repercussion for the whistle-blower.

David Harold Chester
April 24, 2018

To end corruption in the speculation in land values (which is perhaps the most corrupting influence in the world) we need to tax land values not people, sales and capital gains. Land-Value Taxation is not new but the capitalists think they are land owners too and consequently they oppose it.
How may LVT be made politically acceptable?
Much as I applaud the Single Tax idea of Henry George for having great ethical principles at heart, I find after more than 50 years in our Movement that its introduction is simply not practical. Apart from use of the word “Tax”, which in any case no politician wants to propose, we must eliminate the offense that our proposals for LVT causes to landlords. Obviously they will strongly oppose the proposal for having to pay a new tax (or anything else we might like to call it). The problem then is not to have to fight them, nor try to convince them on moral grounds, but how to make them want to pay for land access rights or revenues.
To achieve this there should be introduced a gradual change in the way that land is being owned, which should be introduced by new laws. Whenever a site or prospect of land is being offered for sale (possibly with its buildings, etc.,) and whenever ownership of such a site is being transferred between family members (and on which an inheritance-tax would normally be paid), the change is that government automatically buys the land at its current normal nominal price. This is done simultaneously when the buildings are sold in the usual way or their ownership is being transferred. (The courts shall be empowered to settle the land-value, if/when doubt is expressed–land-value maps being publicly accessible.)
The previous landlords or their heirs will no longer have any political objection, since the money from the land sale will greatly exceed the subsequent annual lease-fee (see below) for access rights to this land. This change will also eliminate the (hated) inheritance-tax. It is imagined that this process of land sales and governmental purchases will be spread over at least 40 years.
Immediately when the site belongs to the government, this land must be offered for lease to the new or bequeathed owner of any buildings thereon. The lease-fee should be set according to normal amounts of rent for other similar sites, (and again the courts should decide when there is disagreement.) The above “first refusal” for this leasing offer is most necessary, because any buildings of practical use and value on the site, will still be sold or bequeathed as items of durable capital goods, as before.
However, access to the site and its buildings should be denied by the government until the site is leased by someone who can then (and normally would) have purchased (or been given) the building in the usual way. All taxes that are applied to subsequent building developments should be abolished at this time.
A new owner would acquire the building property more cheaply than before, because it is now without the price of the land under and around it. Such a buyer can then give for hire (rent-out) any building for access and use, as if it were any other item of durable capital goods. In the unlikely event of the leaser not owning the buildings, his/her incoming land rent (from the building owner), shall not exceed the out-going lease-fees by more than 2% (say). Should nobody initially lease the site and its buildings (if any), because of there being no demand for their use, the buildings may be pulled down by the next (eventual) leaser, who will be free to re-develop the site (and would naturally want to do so).
The government should borrow the money for site purchase, or can even offer national redeemable bonds to raise money for it. As the lease money begins to flow to the government, it uses this to:
a) repay part of its loan for site purchase, which may be extended,
b) purchase more sites as and when they become available,
c) cover the interest on the loan and on the new bonds and their eventual redemption, and eventually
d) reduce other kinds of taxation.
It will be appreciated that over the long term the lease fees are equivalent to LVT, but due to the greed of landlords (who behave as if they were capitalists), their income from land sales will satisfy them better than their being taxed. Eventually nearly all the land would then be leased from the government.
Nationally leased land, in countries like Hong Kong, is close to 100%. This approach is known to be most successful, for the rate of growth of prosperity. Also when the previous landlords have more money to spend, most of it will be invested in durable capital goods, making production costs lower as obsolescent durable items are more easily replaced and so the national prosperity will grow also from the government’s investment in land values.
This proposal is not land nationalization (at least no more than what currently applies), since no additional regulations are placed on how the land is to be used.
Because the selling of land is a natural process which is (if anything) encouraged by the land returning to public benefit, the resulting lower priced buildings will become more easy to sell and this will not place such a limitation on their owners who wish to better develop the sites.
Prepared by: David Harold Chester [email protected]

Lanre Rotimi
April 25, 2018

The Big Issue is finding answer to Corruption HOW Questions. Is WBG ready for this? That is, is WBG ready to first find answer to Corruption HOW Questions facing its Internal and External Publics and in ways that HELP all 193/306 UN Member States Deliver on SDG Pledge (No Goal will be considered met if it is not achieved by all Peoples in all Countries? Can these sustainable solutions be found without WBG Internal and External Publics meaningfully addressing serious issues of serious business demanding their serious attention raised in this Paper?…

Berthold Bonny
August 05, 2018

It's obvious that technology has a power to expose corruption practices however fighting corruption requires commitment of technology users to ensure that, there are no corruption practices in the society.