World Bank: Georgia is Anti-Corruption Success Story

Georgia’s gains in the fight against corruption in the public sector ‘destroys the myth that corruption is not culture,’ says a new book by the World Bank about how the former Soviet country has reformed.

The international financial institution says that Georgia’s progress in building a legal framework and enforcement system can and should be replicated by other countries in transition.  The organization lays out how to do that, it says, in its publication, "Fighting Corruption in Public Services: Chronicling Georgia's Reforms,” launched Tuesday.

“Corruption is sometimes seen as endemic, a product of traditional local culture, and, as such, inevitable,” said Philippe Le Houérou, World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia Region at the release.


“Georgia’s experience shows that the vicious cycle of endemic corruption can be broken and, with appropriate and decisive reforms, can be turned into a virtuous cycle.”

The book examines the reasons for the Caucasian country’s success since the 2003 non-violent Rose Revolution toppled President Eduard Shevardnadze, a former communist leader whose tenure was marked by allegations of corruption, nepotism, and electoral fraud.  Less than ten years later, says the World Bank, the country has become a paragon of transparency.

Authors settled on ten factors that contributed to the country’s success, including limits on the role of the state, strong political will, unconventional methods, close coordination betwwen (WHO???  AGENCIES) and strategic communications.

Analysts devised case studies based on public services including police patrols,  tax administration, customs services, power supply, business regulations, civil and public registries, university entrance exams, and municipal services.  The studies are based on interviews with current and former government officials. Authors also looked at accountability measures in place between the government, public service providers, and citizens.

Proof of Georgia’s success at decreasing corruption and attracting foreign investment is reflected in its meteoric rise in international comparative studies.  The World Bank’s 2012 Doing Business rankings placed Georgia at the 16th easiest place for a company to do business, up from 112 in 2005.  In 2005, Georgia ranked 130 out of 158 on Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index, but 64 in the 2011 analysis.  Other than the Baltic countries which have EU membership, no other former Soviet country ranked above 110.

Of course, while the current system is considered a success story, the bank acknowledges that the country needs to put concerted effort into sustaining the relatively recent anti-corruption measures, laying out the work that still remains to be done.