Myanmar's new corruption challenge

Myanmar has the potential to quadruple the value of its economy to $200 billion by 2030 if it presses on with reforms, embraces technology and shifts away from agriculture.

Pervasive entrenched corruption has also been identified as a major impediment effecting growth in Myanmar which ranks 172nd out of 174 economies on Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index of 2012 (CPI).
 
Corruption is identified as the top impediment to conducting business in 22 out of 144 economies, as measured in the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report.

The fight against corruption is strategically crucial for business. Citizens across the world have taken to the streets to demand decisive action from their governments.

Corruption is widely recognised as a major obstacle to the stability, growth and competitiveness of economies. Business has a unique opportunity to join forces with governments and other stakeholders to find lasting solutions to problems of corruption and to create a level playing field for today’s globalised markets.

Taking a leadership role is not only a matter of ensuring organisational compliance. It is a strategic imperative for every CEO.
 
According to the World Bank, corruption adds up to 10% to the cost of doing business globally. And, in response to the 2012 Global Compact Annual Implementation Survey – the largest survey on corporate sustainability practices with input from over 1,700 businesses – 39% of respondents ranked corruption as a major obstacle to sustainable development.

Sustainability and market growth cannot be attained as long as corruption is prevalent.
 
While game changing ideas and large scale initiatives are difficult to implement, a "coalition of the willing" is rapidly developing, with business and government leaders around the world taking a greater interest in supporting anti-corruption initiatives.

Emerging markets are of particular interest, as companies tend to face more risks in those areas where enforcement is weak and lack of transparency clouds the business transactions and investments.
 
Formed in 2004, the World Economic Forum’s Partnering Against Corruption Initiative (PACI) is a global, multi-industry, multi-stakeholder anti-corruption initiative to advance the global agenda on anti-corruption and transparency and ensure a competitive, transparent, accountable and ethical business society.
 
PACI brings together business leaders from around the world who understand that corruption is a strategic business risk and must be addressed with CEO level commitment. The problem of tackling corruption cannot be solved by individual activities alone.

This is precisely where "Collective Action" methods become important: Collective Action enables corruption to be fought collectively, with multi-stakeholder groups, working together and building an alliance against corruption so that the problem can be approached and resolved from multiple angles.

PACI members participate and further an anti-corruption platform that catalyses efforts to: 
 
•Level the playing field through collective action with other companies, governments and civil society;

•Engage in high-level business-government dialogue on a country and regional basis;

•Identify industry sector-specific corruption challenges that require sector-driven leadership;

•Benchmark PACI member practices against global best practice through peer exchange, networking and sharing of best practices.


An example of Collective Action is the PACI Mongolia Network . In March 2011, the President of Mongolia facilitated a roundtable on corruption challenges facing his country, together with business, government and civil society leaders.

A key outcome of this meeting was the creation of the PACI Mongolia Network, a country-based business led community committed to a zero tolerance to bribery in all its forms.
 
PACI Mongolia Network is created by the Mongolia business community for Mongolia. It is led by the PACI Mongolia Steering Board, which consists of nine leading business and government leaders in Mongolia, and based out of the MNCCI (Mongolia National Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
 
The PACI Mongolia Network currently has 150+ Mongolian signatory companies who have signed on to the PACI Principles. Using the PACI Principles as a benchmark, these companies agree to implement anti-bribery and anti-corruption practices in their companies.
 
Elaine Dezenski is a Senior Director and Head of the Partnering Against Corruption Initiative (PACI) at the World Economic Forum

Related search: World Econom, ic Forum, Asia, Myanmar, Corruption

About the author

Writer: By Elaine Dezenski