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Obama and the fight against corruption: What do you think his priorities should be?

Posted by iaccforum on November 6, 2008

The world is still digesting the historic presidential victory of Senator Barack Obama in the United States on 4 November. And although it is already a shop-worn cliché that expectations of Obama are astronomically high, with countries, organisations and individuals everywhere projecting their interests onto that blank slate called ‘change’, the Obama administration will have real opportunities to make a difference  when it takes up its work on 20 January 2009.

Already, a number of civil society organisations have entered the fray, with their recommendations to the US President-elect on the environment, on global poverty and on human rights. But what about corruption and governance?

In a New York Times article published today (“Campaign Pledge on Ethics Could Become Obstacle to Filling White House Jobs“), journalist David D. Kirkpatrick speculates that Obama may be hampered in recruiting top talent by his pledges to:

post online all of his appointees’ employment histories and personal financial disclosures, along with regular updates of any meetings or conversations they hold with registered lobbyists.

The article provides a glimpse of the positions Obama was promoting on the campaign trail with regards to integrity and transparency, policies he presumably wants to implement once in the White House. But will he be able to afford these brave new measures? What about the fight against corruption beyond American borders? Corruption remains a massive issue in both Iraq and Afghanistan, threatening to erase any progress in stability (and in some cases, implicating American military personnel and civilians). And what about the role of corruption in undermining development?

What do you think Barack Obama’s priorities should be in the fight against corruption, domestically and internationally? We welcome your comments – just click the link after this article which reads ‘X comments’!

Jesse Garcia


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