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The World Bank has released a major report that says that more than $1 trillion is paid globally as bribe yearly. This comes to an average of $2.7 billion per day. The figure does not include embezzlement of public funds or theft of public assets.

The study is done by the World Bank Institute (WBI) in Washington, United States, is an ongoing research, but it shows that the scale of bribery as an economic crime is alarming. This can be seen when the figure is compared with the estimated size of world economy in 2001-02, for example, which stood at just over US$30 trillion.

This calculation is an estimate of actual bribes paid worldwide. It covers both rich and developing countries. The report counts the costs of corruption beyond monetary terms to identifying it as a major obstacle to reducing inequality, illiteracy and infant mortality in developing economies. Corruption diverts development funds from projects that benefit the poor.

Countries like Botswana, Chile, Costa Rica and Slovenia, have curtailed corruption to levels comparable with those of many wealthy industrialized countries. Study of 200 countries turns on its head the popular notion that a country needs to be wealthy first before it can address the issue of corruption. On the contrary, "improving governance, rule of law, and corruption control" lead to increase in personal and national incomes for countries.

According to the World Bank, it is important to emphasise that this is not simply a developing country problem. Fighting corruption is a global challenge.


....South and Southeast Asian Corporate Report Card
....IMF's "Global Financial Stability Report"

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