$1tn of transactions worldwide tainted by bribery, World Bank says

Ireland sits 18th in the most recent global corruption ratings

$1tn of transactions worldwide tainted by bribery, World Bank says

Euro coins are seen next to US dollar bills in Frankfurt, Germany in this file photo | Image: MICHAEL PROBST AP/Press Association Images

The World Bank estimates that US$1tn of transactions worldwide are tainted by bribery each year.

In a brief on anti-corruption, it says the total economic loss from corruption is estimated to be many times that number.

It has set a goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030 and boosting shared prosperity for the poorest 40% in developing countries.

But it says corruption is "a major challenge" to these goals.

"The harm that corruption causes to development is, in fact, a multiple of the estimated volume, given the negative impact of corruption on the poor and on economic growth", the bank says.

Studies have consistently shown that the poor pay the highest percentage of their income in bribes.

For example, in Paraguay, the poor pay 12.6% of their income to bribes while high-income households pay 6.4%.

The comparable numbers in Sierra Leona are 13% and 3.8%.

Global levels of corruption in 2015 | Source: Transparency International

"Every stolen dollar, euro, peso, yuan, rupee, or ruble robs the poor of an equal opportunity in life", The World Bank adds.

While it also says that corruption discourages poor people from accessing health services and negatively impacts health outcomes - such as infant mortality.

The bank also says economic activity is harmed by corruption, with the practice operating "as a strong disincentive" to foreign investment.

"Countries capable of controlling corruption are able to use their human and financial resources more efficiently, attract more foreign and domestic investment, and grow more rapidly", it says.

Recent research suggests that there is a 300% dividend for improving governance from weak to strong.

While the latest figures available from Transparency International, which measures global corruption, put Ireland in 18th place out of 168 countries and territories.

This puts us on a par with Hong Kong and Japan - but below places like the US, UK, Germany, Canada and Denmark - who topped the list.

It gives us a 75 rating for a perceived level of public sector corruption - where 100 is 'very clean' and 0 is 'highly corrupt'.

Those at the bottom of the list include Somalia, North Korea, Afghanistan and Angola.