Norway’s aid money still headed to ‘most corrupt’

Eleven of the world’s 12 most corrupt governments receive substantial aid from Norway, according to a cross-referencing of Norwegian aid recipients and a report from Transparency International.

Norway— given sixth place among the “least corrupt” nations — sends aid intended for specific projects straight into the bank accounts of some corrupt governments. The No. 1 and No. 3 most-corrupt countries, Burundi and Venezuela, both receive Norwegian aid according to Transparency’s Corruption Perceptions Index.

Of the 12 most corrupt nations, only second-placed Equatorial Guinea does not receive aid from Oslo.

“It really raises the question whether all aid actors are only paying lip service to transparency or are really committed to the principle which means opening up all of their books", Craig Fagan, senior policy director at Transparency International, said in a statement at the end of a Transparency conference in Korea on Thursday.

He said recipient countries too often avoid reporting the commercial flows from a donor’s development activity by instead declaring the funds investment loans or export-import credits.

It’s the second time in as many months that an international organization named Norway as part of a global problem. In November, Norwegian trade with the developed world was described as among the least fair by a California-based trade think tank.

Norwegian aid officials have previously taken action to stamp out abuses, cutting aid to dozens of countries where human rights violations were rampant or money had been swindled. In many cases, funds diverted to suppress populations were paid back.

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