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Last Updated: Monday, 20 February 2006, 19:03 GMT
Bankers unite to fight corruption
Kenyan activists demonstrating after a government corruption scandal
The Kenyan government was hit by a recent corruption scandal
Leading international finance organisations have announced a new strategy for tackling corruption.

The World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other organisations which provide loans, grants and advice to developing nations have signed up.

They have agreed to share information and set up a task force to create a "uniform framework for preventing and combating fraud and corruption".

Corruption is rising in most countries, according to a recent survey.

People in 48 out of the 69 countries covered in Transparency International's annual Global Corruption Barometer survey said corruption had risen over the past three years.

The group of lenders, which includes the African Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, said they would work together to create proposals that could help countries strengthen their ability to combat corruption.

$1 trillion in bribes

The World Bank has described corruption as the "single greatest obstacle to economic and social development".

It believes that countries that tackle corruption successfully can increase their national income fourfold and reduce child mortality by up to 75%.

Research it conducted in 2004 led it to estimate that $1 trillion was paid in bribes in 2003, compared to a global economy worth $30 trillion.

The figure did not include embezzlement of public funds or theft of public assets.

The Transparency International survey showed that taking bribes was particularly prevalent in Africa, with Cameroon, Ghana and Nigeria the worst.

Households in these three countries spend more than 20% of their income on paying bribes, it found.

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