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Saturday Jun 11, 2011

Fighting Corruption Can Benefit U.S. Economy

 

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(NAPSI)—Fighting corruption is essential to improving people’s lives in poorer developing countries, and it can benefit the U.S. economy and improve global stability as well.

That’s the word from experts who estimate that more than 50 percent of U.S. exports now go to developing countries around the world. Analysts also estimate that every $1 billion worth of exports to these countries equals 20,000 U.S. jobs. To help continue the recovery in the U.S., economists contend, it’s important to promote economic growth in those developing countries and help them overcome poverty. Yet something stands in the way of these important aims: corruption.

Developmental experts at the World Bank hold that corruption hits poor people the hardest, since the poor rely most on public services and are least able to pay bribes for simple things, such as a commercial driver’s license or a permit to set up a vegetable stand.

Many of the issues that poor countries face—including violent conflict, disease and pollution—are not contained by borders. By addressing these pressing needs in developing areas, the World Bank is working to create greater global stability-and a more solid foundation for economic growth here in the U.S.

That’s why many of the Bank’s investments in poorer countries—nearly $72 billion last year—focus on helping the poor while fighting corruption. These investments are paying off with big results. For example:

• More than 3 million teachers recruited and/or trained; more than 2 million classrooms built or rehabilitated, benefiting more than 105 million children per year; and about 300 million textbooks purchased and/or distributed.

• More than 47 million people provided with access to basic health, nutrition or population services; 310 million children immunized; 98 million children with improved nutrition; and about 33 million mosquito nets purchased and/or distributed to prevent malaria.

• More than 113 million people given access to an improved water source and 5.8 million people provided with access to almost 600,000 improved sanitation facilities.

Poor governance and corruption remain among the most challenging problems today for many of the World Bank’s clients, and the fight against corruption won’t be won overnight. But making sure the money goes where it’s supposed to can make a big difference.

The World Bank also maintains an international hotline (1-800-831-0463) for anyone to report incidents of corruption. To learn more about the World Bank and its anti-corruption programs, visit www.worldbank.org/integrity.

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