CAF recommends digital tools to fight corruption

A new CAF study shows that countries with higher levels of digitalisation have lower corruption risks, and proposes solutions for governments to incorporate data-driven technologies into their integrity policies
Sergio Díaz-Granados, President of CAF

 -   Sergio Díaz-Granados, President of CAF

CAF -development bank of Latin America- published the report 'DIGIntegrity: The digital transformation of the fight against corruption', which highlights the great advantages of digitalisation for the development and provision of government services, but also warns of the risks posed by the emergence of new corruption networks operating in cyberspace. Faced with this reality, the document proposes the adoption of digital tools to prevent, detect and investigate the phenomena of corruption. 

The report stresses that the fight against corruption and against the impunity of criminal networks must be integrated into development agendas that seek to reduce inequality and poverty, as well as to reactivate the economy after the crisis caused by the pandemic. It is worth noting that corruption could be costing the planet, according to various estimates, between 2 and 5 % of global GDP, with negative effects both for the market economy and for democracy and its fundamental principles. 

Over the past decade, governments and other actors in the digital ecosystem have begun to document experiences on the potential and impact of digitisation to promote transparency, open government data to public scrutiny, and automate bureaucratic processes. CAF's report contributes to the concept linking digitalisation and integrity, and is a comprehensive guide for governments to adopt anti-corruption mechanisms with a digital innovation approach.

The report is divided into six chapters addressing the following points: 

  1. Access to public information and the technical and institutional conditions for governments to incorporate data-driven technologies into their integrity policies.
  2. It explores the statistical evidence on the relationship between digitisation of governments and reduction of corruption risks. 
  3. It highlights how data infrastructures create an ecosystem with the potential to reuse different datasets by successfully applying data science and artificial intelligence to corruption prevention.
  4. Documents how uses of blockchain can reduce corruption risks in processes such as public procurement, conditional cash deliveries and the supply of coronavirus vaccines. 
  5. Develops the key technology risks that governments need to consider and makes the case for ensuring integrity in the use of the technology. The report warns of legal and institutional loopholes around the adoption of digital technologies such as the misuse of personal data, digital identity theft or the sophistication of criminal networks for money laundering through, for example, the use of crypto-assets. 
  6. Finally, it integrates public policy recommendations for all stakeholders to adopt digital technologies within public integrity and anti-corruption policies, through two angles: first, institutional adjustments to strengthen integrity in public policies; and more resources for digital innovation in public authorities that are part of the integrity ecosystem.