How young people are turning the tide against corruption

Yoiuth 2019

(Unsplash, 2019)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Blair Glencorse, Founder and Executive Director, The Accountability Lab & Friday Odeh, Country Director, Accountability Lab Nigeria


A deluge of corruption-related news and scandals has recently rocked the world. The President of Guatemala has expelled a key United Nations anti-corruption body from the country. Romania’s anti-corruption chief has stepped down just as the country is taking over the Presidency of the EU. Japan’s Olympic Chief is facing allegations of bribery over Tokyo’s bid to host the 2020 games, and the Danske Bank money laundering probe continues to deepen.

This is not filling global youth with hope for the future. Young people continue to name corruption as the biggest challenge they face, according to a survey carried out through the Accountability Lab in conjunction the World Economic Forum. And with good reason – corruption has a high cost for society and the economy. It depletes public funds that should pay for education, healthcare and other basic services sorely needed in those countries most affected by it. Businesses and individuals – mostly the poor – pay more than $1 trillion in bribes every year, which undermines trust, exacerbates inequality and severs the social contract.

It is easy to get depressed about this. But there are plenty of reasons to believe that 2019 will be the year in which young people turn the tide against this lack of integrity and accountability. A new generation of change-makers is putting anti-corruption and accountability firmly at the centre of their understanding of global leadership across business, politics, media and civil society.

In business, this clearly showed at Davos 2019, which was chaired for the first time by Global Shapers from the World Economic Forum’s youth network. Accountability for everything from corruption in global corporations to state capture in South Africa were key topics of discussion. These Global Shapers and their contemporaries are leading the way in the corporate world, where now more than ever, young consumers prefer to work and shop at businesses that drive social good.

CEOs understand this. The likes of David Cruickshank at Deloitte and Paul Polman, formerly at Unilever, are speaking out strongly on issues of ethical business. At a recent World Economic Forum Partnering Against Corruption (PACI) meeting, which included many leading global corporations, there was a clear consensus on the idea that values-based organizations are not just better for the world, but also more profitable in the long-term.

In government, a new generation of politicians and bureaucrats is emerging, pushing for more inclusive, transparent decision-making. In Malaysia, the 27-year-old Minister of Youth and Sports Syed Saddiq has not shied away from calling out the kleptocratic behaviour of elites. In Botswana, the 32-year-old Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry Bogolo Kenewendo is pushing back against unfair business practices. During our recent global Integrity Idol campaign to “name and fame” honest bureaucrats, we found hundreds of young, honest civil servants doing everything from fighting corruption in the police to ensuring fair justice at the local level.

In the media, the ability of youth activists to set a national and global accountability agenda is growing rapidly. Young people are creating news checking sites to combat fake news; bloggers in countries including Nigeria are pushing for decision-making based on openness and honesty; and incredibly brave investigative journalists are taking on corrupt regimes and criminal networks. The proliferation of social media has made it harder for those in power to listen only to dishonest elites. Tech-savvy young media-makers have shown that they won’t be silenced or strong-armed by the corrupt, and are building a collective voice for change.

Finally, a new wave of civic activists is pushing back against the old ways of fighting corruption, and showing real progress. These new groups are nimble and collaborative, not bureaucratic and competitive, and draw on historic lessons from movement-building, theories of strategic non-violent action, and ethnographic approaches within specific contexts. Networks such as Libera are taking on the mafia and “spreading a culture of legality” in Italy; groups such as Al Bawsala are bringing transparency to decision-making in Tunisia; and coalitions such as Africans Rising are effectively supporting people-powered action in countries from Nigeria to Zimbabwe.

Corruption remains arguably the largest impediment to global economic and political progress. But there is a new generation finding creative, collective ways to push back against it.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Trade, entrepreneurship and the future of ASEAN’s economy

Stability in Europe has no chances because of Ukraine

The Sino-American trade conflict may be resolved soon

Final vote on European Solidarity Corps

Eurogroup: IMF proposes Germany disposes

Piracy and high seas crime growing, becoming more sophisticated, UN Security Council told

AI can be a game-changer for the world’s forests. Here’s how

4 myths about manufacturing in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

EU confronts environmental threats as global leaders attempt to revive the global sentiment at NYC climate week

Qualcomm to be the next target of EU antitrust regulators? China might be the answer

You can make a difference in North Korea. Here’s how

The increasing drug prices in Europe

Afghanistan: UN condemns blasts that leave 8 dead at cricket stadium

Eurozone: In vicious cycle of disinflation and unemployment?

Have we reached peak smartphone?

Pesticides: MEPs propose blueprint to improve EU approval procedure

Skeptic France about Trump-Juncker trade deal favoring German cars; EU’s unity in peril

Commission: Do it like the Americans in the food sector

JADE Spring Meeting Live Coverage: Entrepreneurial skills in the digital markets

Torture is unacceptable and unjustified ‘at all times’ underscore top UN officials

Do we have to choose between creating jobs and protecting the climate?

How trade wars pose a threat to the global economy

OECD, BSR and Danone launch 3-year initiative to strengthen inclusive growth through public-private collaboration

The EU cuts roaming charges further while the UK weighs Brexit impact

The 13th round of TTIP negotiations hits a wall of intense protests and growing concerns

Nigeria: UN chief ‘appalled’ by killing of aid worker; calls for release of remaining hostages

The world’s most expensive places to own a home

Health Committee MEPs back plans to boost joint assessment of medicines

Policymakers can ensure the 4IR is fairer than the last three

Nearly two-thirds of children lack access to welfare safety net, risking ‘vicious cycle of poverty’

Project Manager – 2024

UN chief calls for ‘immediate end’ to escalation of fighting in southwestern Syria, as thousands are displaced

We can end TB right now. Here’s how

Global spotlight on world drug problem ‘is personal’ for many families, says UN chief

Using ‘leprosy’ metaphors in political rhetoric ‘fuels public stigma’ and discrimination: UN rights expert

Eurozone examines the prospect of issuing debt paper jointly

The IMF overstates the risks for Eurozone and downgrades the threats for the US economy

Why Climate Change Matters for Future Health Professionals

Where is heading Putin’s Russia?

How to stop data leaks

Why do overwhelming proportions of EU’s youth feel excluded?

A Sting Exclusive: “Cybersecurity Act for a cyber-bulletproof EU”, by EU Vice-President Ansip

EU security and defence industry prepares positions for ‘producers’ and ‘customers’

Chart of the day: This is what violence does to a nation’s GDP

Bosnia and Herzegovina: MEPs concerned by slow progress in EU-related reforms

The vicious cycle of poverty and exclusion spreads fast engulfing more children

We need a fresh approach to climate change migration. This is why

Migration surge leaves children stranded, begging on Djibouti’s streets

Employment MEPs want to ensure more flexibility and clarity for EU mobile workers

Have Europe’s Ukrainian wounds begun to heal?

Why the Greeks forgave Tsipras’ pirouettes around austerity and voted again for SYRIZA

EU plans pan-European network of cybersecurity services

Western Balkans: MEPs take stock of 2018 progress

ILO welcomes new UNDP report that places decent work at the heart of sustainable development

Lithuania should find its own way in the EU

MEPs urge UK to break current deadlock

How and why Mercedes fakes the EU fuel consumption tests

China is a renewable energy champion. But it’s time for a new approach

EU opens a third antitrust file against Google

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s