NEWS

This section provides readers with the latest news regarding anti-corruption issues worldwide.

Corruption can be stopped, Guinea shows

In most of the developing world, and particularly in Africa, corruption is so entrenched that sometimes it feels insurmountable. Often the forces of accountability and transparency appear powerless against that potent combination of need, greed and gravy. Every now and then, however, a story surfaces that illustrates why corruption is not an irreversible force--and offers lessons in how to stop it. This particular example comes from Guinea, the west African republic that sits atop what is considered one of the world's largest untapped iron-ore deposits, not to mention its lucrative bauxite reserves. Its natural resources could and should make Guinea an enormously wealthy country. There is an almost insatiable global demand for iron ore, which becomes steel when processed. But generations of Guinean leaders have squandered this natural resource through mismanagement or corruption. In some cases, the technical expertise required to mine the iron ore, coupled with the billions of dollars in infrastructure necessary to make the project viable, was simply too daunting for government and mining companies alike. "In the country's south-east highlands, far from any city or major roads, the Simandou Mountains stretch for 70 miles [113km], looming over the jungle floor like a giant dinosaur spine," wrote Patrick Radden Keefe in his much-heralded account of the dodgy dealings that underpinned Guinea's last major iron-ore deal, published in the New Yorker in July 2013. The iron ore is buried under these remote, inaccessible mountains. Lots of it, maybe as much as $50 billion worth, according to media reports. It is also of unusual purity.