|Georgian Graft Measures Destroy Corruption Myth, World Bank Says|
|February 01, 2012|
By Helena Bedwell
Georgia’s “unique success” in tackling graft “destroys the myth” that corruption is cultural, the World Bank said, urging the Black Sea nation to bolster institutions such as the courts and the media.
Georgia’s ranking in the bank’s global Doing Business survey has jumped to 16th in 2012 from 112th in 2005, an improvement that may help lure foreign investment. The government is striving to recapture the 10 percent or more economic growth it achieved before losing a five-day war with Russia in 2008.
“Since 2003, Georgia has had unique success in fighting corruption in public services,” the World Bank said in a report published today. The country “has proven that success can be achieved in a relatively short period of time given strong political will and concerted action by the government.”
Among the government’s achievements, the Washington-based lender cited steps to create a new police force, improve tax collection and the customs service, cut regulation and increase the reliability of the power supply, adding that “much remains to be done.”
Reported crime fell more than half between 2006 and 2010, while trust was restored in the police and corruption in the education system was rooted out, the bank said.
Georgia’s $11.6 billion economy expanded 8.7 percent last year, the statistics office said yesterday, citing preliminary data. Standard & Poor’s raised its credit rating one level last month to BB-, three short of investment grade, citing “improving public finances.” Fitch followed suit Dec. 15.
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