Welcome to the new Anti-Corruption Rapid Response website hosted by the Anti-Corruption and Governance Center (ACGC) at the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE). This new site will be a community hub for anti-corruption activists and thought leaders engaging in swift interventions during windows of opportunity for anti-corruption reform.
The website features:
- Blogs on country-level efforts to combat corruption during windows of opportunity
- Podcasts with guests ranging from global anti-corruption experts to frontline activists
- Resources and tools from CIPE and partner organizations that are useful guides for designing interventions during windows of opportunity
- Announcements about new rapid response initiatives
- Contact with a community of anti-corruption partners working on rapid response programs
While there are more ways than one to implement anti-corruption rapid response projects, certain principles such as speed, supporting local civic activists, and windows of opportunity are broadly shared across organizations that apply the approach. In this blog, I lay out how CIPE defines anti-corruption rapid response and review some of its recent in-country rapid response efforts.
In 2016, CIPE began to address the need for a rapid response anti-corruption program by bringing together experts like Sarah Chayes and Carl Gershman to speak about how traditional anti-corruption responses had failed in Afghanistan and Ukraine. Taking inspiration from the Justice Rapid Response program, CIPE’s approach quickly deploys staff and resources to countries around the world that are experiencing a window of opportunity for significant anti-corruption reform. These deployments, in turn, help governments build the foundation for sustainable, durable democratic transitions.
To date, CIPE-led rapid response programs have been launched in The Gambia, Armenia, Sudan, Moldova, Malaysia, and Ecuador. These interventions have been funded by the National Endowment for Democracy, The United States Agency for International Development, and the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.
For example, in The Gambia, CIPE’s rapid response initiative provided material support to anti-corruption civil society organizations (CSOs) and supported investigative journalists examining the income sources of an African kleptocrat. In Armenia, CIPE provided technical support to a new reform-minded government as it inaugurated its Corruption Prevention Commission (CPC) and launched a new asset disclosure policy.
These initiatives rely on a pool of experts, practitioners, academics, and government officials who can be mobilized quickly for in-person or virtual guidance and support. Many of these experts are convened quarterly through a volunteer Rapid Response Community of Practice hosted by CIPE. These private discussions have typically focused on intervention strategies and country selection criteria. More recent meetings have focused on Afghanistan and the importance of donor coordination during windows of opportunity.
In the Field
CIPE’s rapid response program work has been augmented by the efforts of CIPE’s regional program teams. For example, in Africa, CIPE supported the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) in establishing the country’s first National Business Council (NBC) during the country’s democratic transition. This led to the launch of the Business Environment Reform Program in June 2020, an initiative that complements The Gambia’s National Development Plan with a focus on private sector-led development.
Similarly, the Sudan Anti-Corruption Resource Center (SARC) was launched in 2020 to serve as an anti-corruption hub that brings together journalists, academics, business groups, and NGOs. A number of additional initiatives have sprung since SARC’s launch and the opening of CIPE’s Sudan office, which is by Sudan Country Representative Shaza Elmahdi. These include initiatives with:
- Sudan’s Ministry of Justice (MoJ) to review the country’s Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) law, an initiative that has drawn on CIPE’s global network of anti-corruption experts.
- Sudan’s Ministry of Trade and Industry to examine how the Ministry can improve and speed the process of reforming trade laws.
CIPE’s newest rapid response project is ongoing in Ecuador. In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ecuador was hit hard by both the pandemic and the harmful consequences of public-sector corruption. Public officials used loopholes in Ecuador’s public procurement laws to gouge prices on critical items from face masks to body bags, with disastrous consequences. Local journalists uncovered these schemes and the public was outraged, which led many implicated public officials to resign from office. CIPE and its in-country partner, Fundación Ciudadanía y Desarrollo (FCD), perceived that a window of opportunity had opened to push for reforms of the country’s public procurement laws.
As a result, CIPE and FCD are running a three-pronged program. First, FCD is leading a series of open contracting training workshops, with support from CIPE and the Open Contracting Partnership, for local government procurement officials and civil society groups. The workshops have received attention from procurement officials across the country.FCD is already increasing the number of workshops offered to meet growing demand. Second, FCD is training Ecuadorian journalists on techniques for carrying out data journalism and investigations of public procurement bids and holding a competition for the best investigative report related to public procurement. Third, FCD is leveraging Ecuador’s recent accession to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative in order to strengthen Ecuadorian civil society’s role in mitigating corruption risks in the extractive sector.
Join The Community
As CIPE continues to expand its rapid response programming, the new Anti-Corruption Rapid Response webpage will operate as an information nerve center for anti-corruption activists, thought leaders, academics, and practitioners committed to a more agile approach to anti-corruption interventions.
We want this website to act as a useful resource for others committed to this approach. If readers have suggestions for making it more useful or have suggestions for podcast guests, blog topics, or tools we could feature, please let us know. We invite you to share suggestions, tools, and experiences to enrich this community of learners and implementers as we seek a better and fairer world.
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