Reducing Corruption Risks in Public Works Construction: The Critical Role of Project Preparation

Jill Wells, Senior Policy and Research Advisor, Engineers Against Poverty, contributes the following guest post:

With the creation of the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Global Infrastructure Facility, as much as an additional $1 trillion a year is likely to be invested in the construction of roads, power plants and other public works in the developing world over the next decade.  While this new investment could provide a welcome boost to economic growth and poverty alleviation, it could also be a curse.  Public works construction is regularly rated the most corrupt industry in Transparency International surveys, and if even a small percentage of this money is lost to corruption, the harm could be enormous.  The development community thus needs to step up efforts to help developing nations prevent corruption in the construction of public works.

To date, most prevention efforts have focused on the award of the contract to build the facility, but that decision is only one of many that must be taken in the process of selecting, preparing, and building new infrastructure.  A new report from the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre identifies the corruption risks at the pre-tender stage and explores how additional opportunities for corruption may arise at later stages of the project cycle when the initial selection and preparation process is compromised.   Continue reading