POLITICS
05/06/2015 23:36 BST | Updated 08/06/2015 11:59 BST

David Cameron Urges G7 To Tackle 'Cancer Of Corruption', Writes Exclusive Blog For The Huffington Post UK

Markus Schreiber/AP
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, and British Prime Minister David Cameron (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

David Cameron has urged fellow world leaders to learn lesssons from the Fifa scandal to tackle the 'cancer' of corruption that ravages countries across the globe.

Writing for The Huffington Post UK, the Prime Minister declared that this weekend's G7 meeting in Germany had to focus on rooting out a problem that affected the security and prosperity of rich and poor countries alike.

For too long corruption 'lined the pockets of those on the inside" but was met with "little more than a reluctant sigh" by political leaders, he said.

Mr Cameron said that corruption was the common cause of many of the world's problems, from migrant deaths in the Mediterranean to the spread of ISIL and the abduction of schoolgirls in Nigeria.

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Dear G7, be more than hot air

Praising those who exposed the Fifa scandal on both sides of the Atlantic, he added that it took 'some brave British journalists and American lawyers' - at the US Department of Justice - to prove that things could change.

Mr Cameron, who joins other leaders in an Alpine resort in Bavaria on Sunday, cited figures showing that corruption adds 25 per cent to the cost of aid spending in developing countries, with an estimated one trillion US dollars (£650billion) wasted on bribes every year.

Hosted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel at Schloss Elmau, the two-day G7 summit will see the UK prime minister join US President Barack Obama, French President Francois Hollande, Italian PM Matteo Renzi, Canadian PM Stephen Harper and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe.

Seizing on the example of the Fifa scandal, Mr Cameron said that Sepp Blatter's comeuppance gave the world a chance to start afresh in countering the wider problem.

"In the last fortnight we have seen the stark truth about FIFA. The body governing the game that means so much to so many around the world has faced appalling allegations that suggest it is absolutely riddled with corruption.," Mr Cameron writes.

"Blatter's resignation this week is the first step on a long road to reform and we will do everything we can, together with our international partners, to help identify and prosecute anyone guilty of wrongdoing and to clean up the game we love."

The Prime Minister added: "But at the heart of FIFA is a lesson about tackling corruption that goes far deeper. Corruption at FIFA was not a surprise.

"For years it lined the pockets of those on the inside and was met with little more than a reluctant sigh. The world shied away from taking on the problem, until some brave British journalists and American lawyers showed that things really could change.

"The same is true of corruption the world over. Just as with FIFA, we know the problem is there, but there is something of an international taboo over pointing the finger and stirring up concerns. At international Summits, leaders meet to talk about aid, to discuss how to grow our economies and how to keep our people safe. But we just don’t talk enough about corruption. This has got to change."

Mr Cameron, who did not name individual countries or companies, added that it was time that world leaders grappled the issue after years of sweeping it under the carpet.

"Corruption is the cancer at the heart of so many of the problems we face around the world today. The migrants drowning in the Mediterranean are fleeing from corrupt African states. Our efforts to address global poverty are too often undermined by corrupt governments preventing people getting the revenues and benefits of growth that are rightfully theirs," he writes.

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Dear G7, be more than hot air

Mr Cameron also stressed that he wanted to put anti-corruption measures at the heart of the new United Nations development goals for the coming 15 years, which are due to be agreed in September.

"World leaders simply cannot dodge this issue any longer. We have to show some of the same courage that exposed FIFA and break the taboo on talking about corruption. I will start tomorrow at the G7 in Germany and I will put corruption at the heart of my agenda at the United Nations in September and the G20 in Turkey, culminating with a major anti-corruption Summit in London next year."

The Prime Minister warned that spread of graft and kickbacks also undermines the wider global economy. "The World Economic Forum estimates that corruption adds 10% to business costs globally, while the World Bank believes some $1 trillion is paid in bribes every year.

"Cutting corruption by just 10 per cent could benefit the global economy by $380 billion every year – substantially more than was estimated for the Doha Trade Round. While corruption costs the EU economy alone 120 billion euros every year.

The OECD reckons bribery and corruption costs 5 per cent of the world's GDP ever year.

Setting his big agenda for global reform, Mr Cameron underlined his commitment to overseas aid and development and the link between poverty and bribery.

"We also need to secure a fundamental change in the way we tackle global poverty. As co-chair of the UN High Level Panel I fought hard to put good governance at the heart of the replacement for the Millennium Development Goals. It took months of negotiation, but there is now a clear international consensus for an explicit target on reducing corruption and bribery. If we can galvanise the world to meet it, we really could achieve our ambition of eliminating extreme poverty by 2030."

Mr Cameron added that Britain had been 'practising what we preach' on the issue, with a national Anti-Corruption Plan and former minister Eric Pickles now pushing through further change.

The leading role taken by the UK on open data and on tax transparency at G7 level was part of a wider approach under his premiership, he added.