Every year $1 trillion is paid in bribes while an estimated $2.6 trillion are stolen annually through corruption – a sum equivalent to more than 5 per cent of the global GDP. In developing countries, according to the United Nations Development Program, funds lost to corruption are estimated at 10 times the amount of official development assistance.
Corruption is a Global Concern
Fighting corruption is a global concern because corruption is found in both rich and poor countries, and evidence shows that it hurts poor people disproportionately. It contributes to instability, poverty and is a dominant factor driving fragile countries towards state failure.
The 2017 joint international campaign focuses on corruption as one of the biggest impediments to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To mark the 2017 International Anti-Corruption Day (IACD), UNODC has developed a wide-ranging campaign focused on different SDGs and on how tackling corruption is vital to achieving them.
For us in Farmfolio, the fight against corruption is vital, because one of our premises is to offer security, transparency and accountability to all our clients and investors. Both the countries where we currently operate are mid-ranked countries in the Corruption Perception Index 2016, with Panama ranked 87th and Colombia 90th. The Perception Index is a useful tool for benchmarking corruption around the world, but these kind of indexes often don’t take into account the efforts done by governments and civil society groups to face this issue.
In Colombia, for example, the Presidential Program to the Fight Against Corruption and Transparency for Colombia are two initiatives that propose concrete steps and perform actions to combat corruption. In the case of Panama, this country’s enormous exposure to the international financial markets puts it in the eye of increased checks and balances. As the “Panama Papers” scandal showed, Panama is in the fast track to becoming one of the least corrupt countries in the region. The country is “cleaning the house” in an unprecedented way for the region. The result of this has been a continuous flow of FDI’s, despite false projections that the scandal would end Panama’s role as a financial hub for the Americas.
We are not blind in Farmfolio in regard to this issue, but our experiences in Colombia and Panama have been extremely positive. We have been working with people, entrepreneurs and government agencies eager to constantly show us that they want to work by the highest ethical standards. Both in Colombia and Panama, Farmfolio is perceived by locals as an opportunity to do things the right way. We have been able to raise capital for our projects, because our investors have the guarantee that Farmfolio will always perform a thorough due diligence process before committing to any project.
The fight against corruption is not only the responsibility of governments. Everybody can do his or her part to eradicate this social illness from the world.