In recognition of corruption as a major obstacle to the development processes of poor countries, the search for effective strategies in combating the phenomenon in developing countries has become a major preoccupation of the international donor community, particularly since the early 1990s. The purpose of this paper is to examine the role of “political will” in combating corruption in Hong Kong, Singapore and Ghana with the view to drawing significant lessons for all developing and transition countries in their anticorruption crusades.
The findings in this paper are based on an extensive review of relevant literature and personal experiences in Ghana.
This paper concludes that controlling corruption in a sustained manner requires a consistent demonstration of genuine commitment on the part of the top political elite towards the eradication of the menace. Where the commitment of the top political leadership to the goal of eradicating corruption in a country is weak, as has been the case in Ghana, governments are only likely to engage in “zero tolerance for corruption” talk but continue to play a “tolerant corruption” game. Anticorruption reforms, in this regard, are bound to fail.
The paper highlights a number of lessons from the successful anticorruption crusades of Singapore and Hong Kong that are significant for Ghana and other developing countries in their fight against corruption. These include the need for anticorruption reform initiatives to be participatory and inclusive of all stakeholders including public and private sectors as well as civil society; the need to provide adequate budgets and staff for specialized anticorruption agencies and grant them independence in the execution of their mandates; and the need to establish effective mechanisms for: providing positive incentives for those who comply with anticorruption laws; and exposing and sanctioning compromised individuals and institutions.
Whilst studies on the role of political will in combating corruption in developing countries abound, most of these have either not provided in‐depth country experiences or relied on single country cases. One major departure of this paper from extant literature is its cross‐country comparative nature.
Abdulai, A. (2009), "Political will in combating corruption in developing and transition economies: A comparative study of Singapore, Hong Kong and Ghana", Journal of Financial Crime, Vol. 16 No. 4, pp. 387-417. https://doi.org/10.1108/13590790910993753Download as .RIS
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