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Why is corruption risk management so hard? Assessing current practices in development aid

Development agencies, by definition, must engage with corruption risk. Working in settings where corruption is engrained in governance and accountability mechanisms are weak or repressed, it is impossible to avoid corruption risk completely. But agencies are also pressed to prevent loss of funds and to avoid contributing to corruption in the countries where they operate. Managing corruption risk is therefore essential. Aid agencies are developing approaches to corruption risk management, but they are still incomplete, and their effectiveness is unproven. This brief addresses three questions: What does corruption risk management look like, in theory and in practice? What makes it such a challenge for aid agencies? And what else do we need to know to strengthen corruption risk management in development assistance?

23 May 2016
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Cite this publication

Hart, E.; (2016) Why is corruption risk management so hard? Assessing current practices in development aid. Bergen: U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, Chr. Michelsen Institute (U4 Brief 2016:1)

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About the author

Elizabeth Hart

Liz Hart is an international development practitioner with more than twenty years of experience in analysing governance and corruption challenges and designing and implementing efforts to address them. She currently leads the Targeting Natural Resource Corruption (TNRC) project at the World Wildlife Fund. TNRC works to strengthen anti-corruption knowledge and practice in natural resource management and conservation, toward the larger goal of reducing the threats that corruption poses to fisheries, forests and wildlife. In addition to a 14-year career with USAID, Liz was formerly the director of the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre and an active consultant in governance, anti-corruption and development. She holds a Ph.D. in political science from Princeton University in the USA.


All views in this text are the author(s)’, and may differ from the U4 partner agencies’ policies.

This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


anti-corruption policy, development cooperation, corruption risk management