Can the World Bank fight corruption?

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Coverage of the Singapore meetings continues. As a follow-on to Michael's notes below from the corruption seminar, here's Francis Fukuyama on Hilary Benn's criticism of the World Bank and whether "corruption-linked conditionality is getting in the way of providing aid to the world's poor".

Fukuyama, who has just started blogging at The American Interest, calls this one a battle Paul Wolfowitz can't win. He concludes that "Wolfowitz is heading an organization poorly structured to lead a fight against corruption", because:

  1. our charter prohibits the World Bank from getting into politics. (Hard to disentangle corruption from politics.)
  2. "the Bank is structured as a lending and aid-granting institution, and all of its incentives are to push money out the door," and
  3. "pressure to move money regardless of performance is vastly increased by lobbying from the likes of Jeff Sachs, Bob Geldorf, Bono, and others to meet the UN’s Millennium Development Goals."

Look for some more Singapore posts from Michael Jarvis, our blogger-on-the-scene, in the next few days. (Disclosure: Fukuyama was my graduate school advisor, and I'm glad to see him in the blogosphere.)

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