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Afghanistan: Corruption

Volume 505: debated on Wednesday 3 February 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate he has made of the proportion of Afghanistan's GDP attributable to bribery; what steps his Department is taking to counter bribery in Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement. (313156)

The Government made no such estimation. However, Afghanistan ranks second to last on Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index (before Somalia) and nearly one in every five Afghans experience corruption when trying to access public health care and state electricity supply. Integrity Watch Afghanistan estimate that in some provinces, households on average pay $100 per year in bribes to public officials. This is a lot of money for most households in a country where the average annual income for an Afghan is US$354 and huge inequalities exist between rich and poor.

At the London Conference on Afghanistan on 28 January 2010 the Government of Afghanistan committed to:

strengthen the independent High Office of Oversight to investigate and sanction corrupt officials;

introduce an independent, merit-based civil service appointment and vetting process;

bring their laws in line with the UN Convention Against Corruption; and

invite a group of Afghan and international experts to develop clear benchmarks for progress and regularly report against these benchmarks.

The International Community in return promised to support them in that task.

Building Afghan institutions that are durable, capable and accountable to their people is key to success in Afghanistan and a key element of the UK mission in Afghanistan. Tackling corruption at all levels is essential to achieving this. The UK has set up a Multi-Agency Task Force (MATF) of experts across the Government to support the Afghan Government's efforts to tackle corruption. The MATF is focused on prevention efforts such as improving public financial management, building Afghan law enforcement so that impunity can end, the strengthening of accountability bodies and opportunities for citizens to hold their government to account.