Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Initiative Against Corruption in Construction Sector

The World Bank is about to launch an initiative in order to address what has become not only a big problem of management but also one of the big excuses for countries and people not to donate to development efforts: corruption, inefficiency and mismanagement, in this case in the construction sector. OECD estimates that these three factors add some 10-30% to the total value of any given construction project; but they also mean less building quality, which can deteriorate users living conditions or even costs lives in regions vulnerable to natural hazards like earthquakes, floods or hurricanes. The construction sector is one of the less transparent and prone to corruption due to the big amount of transactions and contractors involved and its tendency to bribe politicians and officials and to influence the political sphere of a country.

This new initiative will try to tackle the problem by enhancing transparency, efficiency, accountability and expert management and design to construction projects and their associated administrative processes. The construction sector is one of the most important for developing nations, since it is the one in charge of building and maintaining infrastructures and housing, widely seen as pillars of development. The initiate is supposed to include construction companies, governments and civil society in making the sector more transparent and efficient.

British foreign aid agency (DFID) has already conducted a $7.3 million pilot project called Construction Sector Transparency Initiative (CoST) involving eight nations that joined voluntarily: United Kingdom, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Malawi, Tanzania, Philippines, Zambia and Vietnam. Several other countries are interested in CoST, which has attracted far more countries than intended when it was initially designed. So far, the results have been good, despite some loses detected, which are attributed to poor design or lack of capacities of the participant countries administrations. Still, CoST "fathers" state that the project has the potential to change for better the whole international construction sector. Maybe that is why the World Bank will take CoST as the seed of its own worldwide initiative against corruption in the construction sector. If this initiative succeeds, it will mean a major boost for developing nations, since it will attract more investors by saving time, money, and most importantly, lives.

- David Nebreda

SOURCE: trust.org