Corruption is ubiquitous and it’s all over the news. And while everybody agrees that it is a bad thing, the scope of the problem still comes as an unwelcome surprise to many.

Small wonder! The impact of corruption on doing business globally is staggering: currently the costs are estimated at up to 10 percent. In absolute numbers the amount of total bribes paid is conservatively estimated at least USD 1 trillion. Clearly, this represents a formidable obstacle to the socio-economic development of many countries.

The good news is: most businesses are by now becoming acutely aware of the damage corruption is doing to them and the communities that surround them, and that awareness is all the more evident here at the World Economic Forum on Latin America, 2012.

I have just attended a high-level meeting where international representatives from the private sector (the Business 20) presented their recommendations to President Calderon of Mexico, which currently holds the G-20 presidency. The recommendations highlight how best to implement the G-20 Anti-Corruption Action Plan that was launched in Seoul, South Korea in 2010.

The recommendations were developed by a task force comprising representatives from 17 organizations and co-d by the World Economic Forum’s Partnering Against Corruption Initiative. They focused on 6 themes, namely:

·     Making Government procurement more transparent

·     Promoting and extending sector –based anti-corruption initiatives

·     Engaging the private sector in the UN Convention Against Corruption country peer-review process

·     Designing and launching capacity building opportunities in anti-corruption between the public and private sectors

·     Incentivizing private and public sector organizations to adopt anti-corruption codes of conduct

·     Strengthening the legal and regulatory framework on anti-corruption

Personally, I am very excited about these recommendations, first, because they form a sound basis for public-private sector collaboration in the fight against corruption. Second, they are supported by business and well received by governments at the highest levels and third, in my opinion they are both actionable and achievable in the short to medium term.

They constitute another bold step in the long march to stop the juggernaut of corruption.

Author: Arthur Wasunna, Head of the Partnering Against Corruption Initiative and global leadership fellow at the World Economic Forum.

PACI is a global multi-sector, anti-corruption initiative established by CEOs to level the playing field among industries and help consolidate anti-corruption efforts. PACI brings together more than 170 companies to fight bribery and corruption. For additional information about PACI, kindly visit http://www.weforum.org/paci  or contact us at [email protected].

Pictured: An employee at Belgium’s Royal Mint scoops up a handful of fifty-euro-cent coins in Brussels December 8, 2011. REUTERS/Yves Herman (BELGIUM – Tags: BUSINESS)