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EBRD steps up anti-corruption drive with new commitments

By Anthony Williams

Bank stresses key role of collaborative response in addressing corruption challenge

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has stepped up its drive to combat corruption in the countries where it invests with a new set of commitments aimed at tackling this continued threat to economic development.

In a statement released at the International Anti-Corruption Conference 2018 in Copenhagen on 23 October, the EBRD said economies could not function effectively or sustainably in societies where corruption was endemic. 

“Corruption is market-distorting.  It imbalances what should be a level playing-field for all, to the benefit of few connected insiders.  And corruption erodes trust – in governments, in the private sector, and in society – which is a vital element of any well-functioning market economy,” the statement added.

Noting that the EBRD had made the fight against corruption a central pillar of all of its work to promote market economies, it stressed that its approach combined investments with high-level policy engagement and targeted technical assistance.

Outlining its new pledges, the EBRD said it would continue to enforce the highest standards of compliance and business integrity in conjunction with private sector clients across its countries of operations. It would work with selected clients, particularly large multinational corporations, to design and implement new measures to raise integrity and anti-corruption standards.

The EBRD would build on its successful track record of improving corporate governance standards in state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and expand its activities promoting the implementation of robust and corruption-proof state ownership policies as well as expanding its programme of activities with SOE clients in the area of corporate governance.

The EBRD would work with the governments committed to enhancing transparency to  support the development of  registers of ultimate beneficial owners of domestic and foreign-owned companies through the provision of legal and technical assistance to draft appropriate legislation, collect relevant data and publish it in the official registries.

In the area of Government Procurement and Contracting, the EBRD would continue and expand its support for procurement policy and law reform in its countries of operations, including the adoption of modern eProcurement standards and technology.

The EBRD made clear greater collaboration amongst international organisations and international financial institutions was key to addressing the corruption challenge.

“Coordination with other development partners ensures the Bank uses its comparative advantage as the private sector champion to maximise impact while maximising synergies with the European Union, other multilateral development banks and international financial institutions, as well as intergovernmental organisations,” the statement said.

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