Tackling corruption in international investment

International investment is a primary engine for boosting economic growth and rapid recovery, with a view to contributing to the attainment of 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. Governments invest a significant portion of their national budgets in international investment projects, in particular in infrastructure development. However, there is often a sizeable investment gap due to the vast demand for development. To address the investment deficit, governments often need to cooperate with international players, such as foreign governments, multilateral financial and development institutions, or business entities, including through public-private-partnership. Against this backdrop, international investment projects play a vital role in helping countries, in particular developing countries, mobilize global resources, bridge financing gaps and promote economic development.

Corruption poses significant threats to countries around the world. It weakens institutions, erodes trust and threatens economic growth, including undermining fair competition and discouraging investment. Due to their vast financial scale, complex delivery requirements, and involvement of international players, international investment projects are constantly exposed to higher corruption risks.

The damage caused by corruption in international investment projects, in particular large-scale infrastructure projects, is enormous. The quality of the infrastructure may be compromised, costs may rise, and infrastructure assets may not be maintained to the required standards. The development and implementation of such projects are often complex and are not always transparent and adequately regulated. In addition, governments may lack effective regulatory frameworks and institutional capacities to maintain the integrity of complex investment projects. These gaps have been highlighted in the process of the review of the implementation of UNCAC.

In order to enhance synergies between promoting sustainable development through the support of UNCAC implementation and mitigating corruption risks in relation to international investment projects, UNODC is helping States dealing with such projects to improve their accountability and integrity structures, by developing and disseminating relevant knowledge products, enhancing the exchange of information, good practices and knowledge, promoting international cooperation and strengthening capacities in the prevention and combating of corruption in international investment projects.

The UNODC project entitled “Fostering Sustainable Development by Supporting the Implementations of UNCAC in Countries Along the Silk Road Economic Belt” is designed for this purpose. Further information on this project will become available soon.