Despite significant investment and anti-corruption capacity building in the past decades, "most systematically corrupt countries are considered to be just as corrupt now as they were before the anti-corruption interventions"(1). Statements like this are indicative of the frustration shared by practitioners and scholars alike at the apparent lack of success in controlling corruption worldwide and point to the need to rethink our understanding of the factors that fuel corruption and make it so hard to abate.
Corruption undermines nearly all key legal and developmental priorities today, including the effective functioning of democratic institutions and honest elections; environmental protection; human rights and human security; international development programs; and fair competition for global trade and investment.
In many countries high levels of corruption persist in spite of the adoption of so-called anti-corruption “best practices”. In this paper we make a call to pursue a context-sensitive inquiry into the drivers of corruption in order to substantially improve the practices and effects of anti-corruption.
In the past decade the prevention of corruption has been recognised as a prerequisite for sustainable and equitable development. Academics, policy-makers and activists working towards such governance reforms have come a long way in the relatively short period since corruption has been actively addressed both in the North and the South.