U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre

This Anti-Corruption Helpdesk brief was produced in response to a query from a U4 Partner Agency. The U4 Helpdesk is operated by Transparency International in collaboration with the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre based at the Chr. Michelsen Institute.


Please provide an overview of corruption and anti-corruption in Colombia.


1. Overview of corruption in Colombia
2. Governance structure and anti-corruption
efforts in Colombia
3. References


Colombia has made some improvements in terms of rule of law in the last decade. The current peace talks with the FARC (Colombia´s Revolutionary Armed Forces) are a clear symptom of increasing political stability. Additionally, a mining boom and improved security conditions have driven strong economic growth since the early 2000s. Nevertheless, neither these developments nor the new institutional reforms promoted by the government of President Santos—the new Anti-corruption Act of 2011, and the creation of a new Anti-corruption office in the Presidency—have contributed to curbing corruption. To the contrary, in Transparency International´s 2012 Corruption Perception Index, the country received the worse score in ten years, going from 57 in 2002 to 94 in 2012.

Colombia still faces several structural corruption challenges: the collusion of the public and private sectors, clientelism and policy capture by organized crime, lack of state control and weak service delivery in remote areas of the country, and the inefficiency of the criminal justice system. Moreover, although the swift development of extractive industries in the country has boosted the economy, the lack of adequate regulation and accountability mechanisms is a cause for concern. Particularly as the first symptoms of the “resource curse” effect might have started to show. Whether the country continues improving its governance performance will depend on its capacity to enforce its robust legal framework and implement its strategic commitments against corruption.


Hernán Gutiérrez


Marie Chene, Transparency International, [email protected]; Robin Hodess, Transparency International, [email protected]




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