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Corruption

World's poorest countries lose $1 trillion a year to corruption

Corruption kills millions of people and costs the world's poorest countries more than $1 trillion a year, a new report says. Anti-poverty activists are urging the G20 to increase transparency.

The world's poorest countries are deprived of at least $1 trillion each year (762 billion euros) as a result of corruption. That's according to a report published on Wednesday by anti-poverty organization ONE.

'The Trillion Dollar Scandal' reports that a "culture of secrecy" is being exploited by criminals and corrupt officials who siphon off cash by means of illegal tax evasion, money laundering and embezzlement.

The report, launched in the Australian capital, Canberra, also blames corruption for the deaths of 3.6 million people in developing countries.

"In developing countries, corruption is a killer. When governments are deprived of their own resources to invest in health care, food security or essential infrastructure, it costs lives and the biggest toll is on children," says the report.

The US-based organization is now urging the leaders of the 20 largest economies, the G20, to tackle corruption at the leaders' summit in Brisbane in November by launching a crackdown on corruption in four main areas.

Transparency

As well as demanding the G20 to "shine a light" on anonymous shells companies, ONE is also demanding the introduction of mandatory reporting laws for the oil, gas and mining sectors, so that countries' natural resources "are not effectively stolen from the people living above them". The organization is also advocating the automatic exchange of tax information and the publication of government data.

"Developing countries are losing a trillion dollars every year as result of money laundering, bribery and tax evasion, and the uncomfortable truth is that often the policies put in place by G20 countries are facilitating those outflows from the world's poorest countries," report author David McNair said.

The report says that if corruption was eliminated in sub-Saharan Africa, 10 million extra children per year would receive education, as money would also be available to cover the costs of an additional 500,000 primary school teachers. Additionally, more than 11 million people with HIV/AIDS would also be provided with antiretroviral drugs.

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