Tearfund urges G20 to champion transparency

Christian charity calls on Australian PM to tackle global corruption in 2014

(Photo: Clive Mear/Tearfund)

Tearfund's 'Secret's Out' campaign is determined to tackle issues of corruption, money laundering and tax evasion that result in the loss of an extortionate £555 billion each year.

The illicit flow of money is made easier by a lack of transparency within transactions between governments and global companies, and it is the poorest nations and communities in the world that are the worst affected by the corruption.

Communities that should receive money for the development of schools, hospitals and infrastructure to better improve their facilities and prospects are instead exploited by the very companies that take their precious resources.

"It's hard to tell where Africa's wealth goes when there's a lack of accountability and public scrutiny – and corruption is shrouded in secrecy," said Bishop Munga, who works for Tearfund's partner the Christian Council of Tanzania.

"That's why the best way of tackling it is to maximise transparency."

Tearfund, which is committed to ending extreme poverty, is therefore calling upon Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott to take a strong stance on corruption as he chairs the G20 summit in 2014.

During last year's G8 conference, tighter regulations were agreed upon regarding the way in which mining, oil and gas companies share information in accordance with EU legislation. Tearfund is now urging Australia to use its influence to encourage similar commitments from those countries and companies that are not governed by EU or US law.

"In 2014 the G20 needs to build on the position that David Cameron took over transparency at the G8 and a London conference last autumn," reads a statement from Tearfund.

"Tony Abbott must lead the group to reach a global deal. When we have this is it will be harder for extractive industry operations to exploit the poorest communities."

Tearfund argues that once it is illegal for governments to hide the amount of revenue they receive from global companies in exchange for their resources, local people will be in a better position to hold leaders accountable for where that money is spent.

It is hoped that instead of getting 'lost' through various means of corruption, the money is more likely to get ploughed back into the poorest and most vulnerable communities, thus raising them out of extreme poverty and freeing them from its crippling effects.

"Redirecting this lost money would help countries fund their own needs, and reduce aid dependency for hundreds of thousands of the world's poorest communities," Tearfund explains.

In celebration of Australia Day on January 26, Tearfund wrote a letter to Tony Abbot, urging him to make reducing corruption, poverty and aid dependency a top priority in 2014.

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