The corruption industry is worth US$ 1 trillion worldwide annually, according to the World Bank.
Daniel Kaufmann, who is the World Bank delegate at the IV Global Forum on Corruption Combat which is taking place this week in Brasília, says that the institution has graded 205 countries according to level of corruption. On that scale, Brazil is intermediary.
“There are countries that are in a corruption crisis. They are, so to speak, in the red, danger zone at the bottom of the scale. Examples of such countries are Zimbabwe and Equatorial Guinea.
“At the other end of the scale, in the green zone, are the Baltic countries and other European countries that recently joined the European Union.
“In the middle are countries that face serious challenges in dealing with corruption. They are in the orange zone on the scale. That is where Brazil is,” explained Kaufmann.
The Global Forum on Corruption Combat, which takes place every two years, is being held in Latin America for the first time this year.
According to Kaufmann, the region has made significant progress in raising literacy levels, improving social well-being and reducing infant mortality rates, which are essential in combating corruption.
“In fact, combating corruption can be just as important for development as economic investments which is probably one of the reasons that during the last eight years there has been a worldwide reduction in corruption,” said Kaufmann.
Concerning the recent spate of corruption scandals in Brazil, Kaufmann declared that he was not well informed about exactly what was happening, but he pointed out that “there are scandals everywhere, in all countries. The important thing is how the people and the government deal with the problem.”
In conclusion, Kaufmann emphasized that revelations about corruption do not necessarily mean that corruption is on the rise. Nowadays, compared to 50 years ago, he said, it is often just the result of more transparency.