The Minister for International Development and the Pacific wants to pivot the Australian aid program so that our region can emerge from the covid pandemic a ‘stable, prosperous, and resilient’ Indo-Pacific. Supporting our neighbours to tackle the health crisis is a must. But in every crisis, corruption thrives. Our aid program should keep good governance squarely in focus.
We are likely only scratching the surface of what implications covid could have for the developing world. Beyond immediate health and economic concerns, the pandemic will likely exacerbate global inequalities and encourage corrupt activity.
The World Bank predicts that up to 60 million people will be pushed into extreme poverty from the pandemic and shutdown of advanced economies.
We know that corruption has the most devastating impacts on marginalised communities and those living in poverty. It is often women and girls who suffer the most when money which is meant to be spent on essential services like schools, ends up in deep pockets. The pandemic will test the strength of institutions to combat bribery, fraud and corruption. The pandemic is also a great threat to progress towards the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.