Fighting corruption – a major barrier to development

Figure: Two hands coming together in a handshake, with a folded banknote held in the palm of one hand.
The SDC works against corruption in all its forms, including paying bribes to obtain medical care. © SDC

Corruption hinders development, causing the disappearance of crucial financial resources, the erosion of public trust and a general sense of powerlessness and injustice that can escalate to full-blown conflict. Corruption hits poor and vulnerable groups the hardest as they cannot afford bribes to obtain public services.  The SDC is therefore determined to combat corruption. 

Fighting corruption is one of Switzerland's key priorities and vital to establishing good governance. Responsible and transparent action on the part of governments and the imposition of sanctions for corrupt acts are major weapons in fighting corruption.

Key objectives are ensuring that public funds are used effectively and efficiently for development within a particular country and building public trust in the government.  The SDC also aims to stop corrupt practices that subvert government institutions and political processes and to create a more level playing field, which helps reduce tensions. 

Focus of action

The SDC works to combat petty corruption that affects people's everyday lives, such as paying bribes for medical care. It also fights large-scale corruption involving powerful politicians and business leaders, with substantial sums changing hands. The SDC uses a two-pronged approach to tackle these issues: firstly, supporting specific anti-corruption programmes and secondly, incorporating anti-corruption measures into other areas of work. The SDC works to address all aspects of corruption, ranging from bribery, fraud and embezzlement to nepotism, unfair price-fixing and extortion.

Zero tolerance policy

If the SDC were to be affected by corruption, payments would normally be suspended pending the results of a legal investigation. In addition, the SDC strives to recover misappropriated funds in all circumstances.

Where can suspected instances of corruption be reported?

The FDFA Compliance Office is responsible for dealing with any instances of corruption or abuse which are reported within the FDFA or by external parties in connection with SDC-funded activities.


FDFA Compliance Office – Reporting corruption, misappropriation of funds and abuses

Alternatively, suspected instances of corruption may be reported on the whistleblowing platform of the Swiss Federal Audit Office.

Swiss Federal Audit Office (SFAO) whistleblowing platform

Current projects

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PRODEL – Programme to strengthen municipal capacities for local development

01.04.2016 - 31.03.2020

PRODEL is part of the Cuban decentralization reform process that seeks to build the capacities of local government representatives in local development management and assist them in formulating and implementing Municipal Development Strategies (EDMs) as a tool to maximize local resources and improve local services.


Local Governance Program Nicaragua-APIM

01.01.2016 - 31.12.2019

The final phase aims to capitalize and to transfer best practices of public investment cycle into national norms. The program will smoothly phase out the earmarked budget support to 15 municipalities in order to i) strengthen capacities to manage municipal investments plans for rural feeder roads and basic services; and ii) ensure sustainability, inclusive governance and transparency. Best practices and experiences will be documented and disseminated.


Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative of World Bank Group and UN Office on Drugs and Crime

16.12.2015 - 30.12.2019

Asset recovery is an important priority on the global agenda. Demand for expertise on asset recovery remains high around the world. Asset recovery is a priority for SDC, the Message 2014-2017 and Switzerland as a financial center with its pioneering role in general. This contribution will support the Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative (StAR). StAR is a partnership between the World Bank Group and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) that supports international efforts to end safe havens for corrupt funds.


Zimbabwe Reconstruction Fund (ZimRef)

01.12.2015 - 31.12.2019

The Zimbabwe Reconstruction Fund is a multi-donor trust fund that supports the Government of Zimbabwe in its reconstruction and development efforts in particular by strengthening the Zimbabwean public finance management and accountability system for improved service delivery, including in the health sector. The fund, with its management mechanism, is currently a key instrument of dialogue and experience sharing between the donors and the Government of Zimbabwe.


Anti-Corruption Support

01.05.2015 - 31.03.2020

This intervention aims at fostering an institutional and social environment that is increasingly adverse to corruption. Support to reform-oriented “duty bearers” – by strengthening the technical and procedural capacities of the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) - will be combined with activities enhancing collective action by supporting the private sector for a more transparent business environment and a multi-media campaign inspiring behaviour change of citizens (“right holders”) to strengthen integrity.


Governance and Decentralisation Programme Phase II (GDP II)

01.04.2015 - 31.12.2019

Governance and Decentralisation Programme Phase II (GDP II) aims to support Mongolia’s decentralisation reform process by fostering local governments which are empowered, democratic, and accountable to citizens, and which provide sustainable services responding to citizens’ needs. GDP II is working in close collaboration with Mongolian counterpart organizations to strengthen national ownership. The programme is expected to have a nationwide impact, benefitting all local governments as well as citizens (men and women) of Mongolia. A pro-poor and gender equality focus is explicitly mainstreamed in the programme’s design and its results framework.


Good financial governance – accountability and mobilisation of state revenue

01.02.2015 - 31.07.2020

The project will address the challenge of efficient allocation of resources and lack of accountability in the financial management of public bodies. It plans to do so by improving external and internal audits, increasing local revenue mobilisation and strengthening local government-citizen dialogue on transparency and accountability issues. The project will be implemented by the GIZ and is funded by the European Union, Germany and Switzerland.


Municipal Development Programme Mozambique - PRODEM

01.01.2015 - 31.12.2019

In the framework of the ongoing decentralization process in Mozambique, 53 municipalities have been established since 1998. The programme aims to contribute to urban poverty reduction and a sustainable development of 26 municipalities. This shall be achieved through improvements in municipal government’s administration with a focus on service delivery and resilience to climate change impact complemented by enhanced citizen’s participation and social accountability.


Transparency International Bangladesh: Building Integrity Blocks for Effective Change

01.10.2014 - 30.09.2020

Transparency International Bangladesh promotes improved governance in selected institutions of integrity (parliament, judiciary, etc.) and five sectors providing basic services to the people (education, health, local governance, land, climate finance) as well as it strengthens its grassroots movement in order to reduce corruption for the benefit of the poor and the marginalised.


Governance Facility (GF)

01.10.2014 - 30.06.2020

People in Nepal still suffer from weak public accountability, lack of rule of law and prevailing impunity. Switzerland, Denmark and DFID have established a sector-wide multi-donor basket facility to support public and private institutions in the governance sector, aiming at improving the rule of law, access to justice for marginalized men and women, the protection of human rights and at strengthening public accountability mechanisms for the most vulnerable people in Nepal.


Skills for Employment Investment Program (SEIP)

01.08.2014 - 30.06.2020

260’000 unskilled youth and adults will be skill-trained, 70% of whom will be placed in decent jobs through partnerships with industries and private training providers in six economic growth sectors of Bangladesh. By creating the foundations for a sector-wide approach, the Skills for Employment Investment Program (SEIP) will bring the currently fragmented skills development sector under one coordinated management and funding mechanism


Programme d’Appui aux Collectivités Territoriales (PACT)

01.06.2014 - 31.12.2020

Les élections municipales de juillet 2004 ont scellé l'irréversibilité du processus de décentralisation au Niger. Malgré cette décision souveraine, les transferts de compétences et de ressources aux Collectivités Territoriales restent modestes, sans grands effets sur l'évolution de la gouvernance locale. Pour dynamiser cette réforme prioritaire, le PACT entend contribuer au développement d’une gouvernance locale fondée sur la participation citoyenne, l'accès équitable des populations aux services publics locaux et à la redistribution inclusive des richesses.

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