The origins and development of the World Bank's anti-corruption programme
This thesis is an evaluation of the World Bank's policies and strategies on anti-corruption work in the context of the global aid regime. In 1997, the Bank announced a four-pronged strategy to help its borrowers combat corruption, despite claiming in the past that it could not conduct work of this kind given the Bank's non-political mandate. Indeed, in the early 1990s, the Bank's General Counsel provided a new interpretation of the Bank's Articles of Agreement that still excluded work on corruption. Despite many attempts to reshape the discourse on corruption from a political one into an economic one, this issue of the non- political mandate has never been satisfactorily addressed. Instead, the Bank's anti-corruption work has become increasingly politicised as it moves from traditional public sector reform work to work on community empowerment and civil society. Additionally, the Bank has sought to mainstream this work on corruption into all of its programmes and regions, resulting in a programme that is overly complex and threatens the Bank's overall capacity as an institution. However, there is much good work being done - in upgrading the Bank’s procurement work, strengthening internal ethics, improving work on public sector reform and bringing international attention to the problem of corruption. This thesis argues that the Bank should focus on its strengths and avoid the more controversial and ineffective components of its anti-corruption programme, which threaten the credibility of the programme as a whole.