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.

Query

Please explore corruption risks, as well as corruption's negative effect on healthcare, the environment and the readymade garments industry. Where possible, identify entry points and innovative approaches to prevent, mitigate and detect corruption.

Summary

The economy of Bangladesh has soared in recent decades, and the country will graduate in 2026 from a Least Developed Country (LDC) to a developing country after 45 years. It has already achieved lower-middle income status, and despite challenges from COVID-19, will become upper-middle income soon. However, anti-corruption efforts have faltered in recent years due to politicisation and crackdowns on activists.

The ready-made garment sector is one of the main drivers of Bangladesh’s economic growth. It also presents unique opportunities for graft and collusion. High levels of corruption have undermined the capacity of the health system to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the country's high vulnerability to climate change-induced disasters, curbing corruption and enhancing good governance in the environmental sector is crucial.

Contents

  1. Background
  2. Extent and forms of corruption
  3. Focus areas
  • Ready-made garments (RMG)
  • Health
  • Environment
  • Anti-corruption actors

4. References

Main points

  • Corruption in Bangladesh remains endemic. The administration espouses a zero-tolerance policy towards corruption, but high-profile political actors are reportedly embroiled in various corruption and embezzlement scandals.
  • The ready-made garment (RMG) is a vital sector of the economy with a serious set of corruption risks, including but not limited to contracting and procurement fraud, collusion, and bribery.
  • The Bangladeshi health sector is rife with corruption and poor governance, and the COVID-19 pandemic has added additional stress.
  • While environmental measures including climate change adaptation are crucial to mitigate disaster vulnerabilities, such initiatives are frequently marred by irregularities and embezzlement.
  • Anti-corruption efforts are plagued by politicisation, and there is a crackdown on actors speaking against corruption.

Authors

Kaunain Rahman, tihelpdesk@transparency.org

Reviewers

Saul Mullard (U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre), saul.mullard@cmi.no

Matthew Jenkins (Transparency International) and Dr Iftekharuzzaman (Transparency International Bangladesh), tihelpdesk@transparency.org

Date

12/10/2021

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