ERF 18th Annual Conference on “Corruption and Economic Development” kicks off in Cairo

Economic Research Forum (ERF) kick-started its 18th Annual Conference today with its first plenary session, featuring an impressive line-up of speakers. The focus was on the issue of measuring corruption and its consequences, framing the discussion that will be further explored at the plenary sessions over the next two days of the conference.

ERF 2012 Conference - Opening and Plenary session 1

ERF 2012 Conference - Opening and Plenary session 1

Following the opening remarks of Ahmed Galal, ERF Managing Director, and Abdlatif Al-Hamad (Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development), Professor Paul Collier highlighted how the costs of corruption are hard to measure and greater than it is possible to imagine. He provided examples of both ‘grand’ and ‘petty’ corruption and contrasted commercial public sector corruption with the type found in the private sector.

Daniel Kaufmann (Brookings Institution) discussed the many different measures of corruption and their relationships, underlining the importance of the interactive relation between transparency, freedom of speech and association, democratic accountability and the fight against corruption. According to him, transparent countries do better in terms of fighting corruption. However, the impact remains limited when the rule of law is weakly implemented. “One does not fight corruption by ‘fighting corruption’, voice and democratic accountability matters” he stated.

Finally, Serdar Sayan (TOBB University of Economics and Technology) underscored new approaches to gauging corruption in different parts of the world, using survey-based measures to assess perceptions.

A pre-Conference workshop exploring aspects of the Arab awakening took place yesterday in an attempt to assess where the Arab mass movements came from, understand the changes that have emerged in the region over the past year and identify lessons learned from other countries/regions which experienced a political transition in the recent years.

Panel session 1: Political Economy Settlements

Panel session 1: Political Economy Settlements

Videos interviews with workshop speakers and participants are available on ERF blog and ERF 2012 playlist onYouTube

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