Fighting corruption – a major barrier to development

Figure: Two hands coming together in a handshake, with a folded banknote held in the palm of one hand.
The SDC works against corruption in all its forms, including paying bribes to obtain medical care. © SDC

Corruption hinders development, causing the disappearance of crucial financial resources, the erosion of public trust and a general sense of powerlessness and injustice that can escalate to full-blown conflict. Corruption hits poor and vulnerable groups the hardest as they cannot afford bribes to obtain public services.  The SDC is therefore determined to combat corruption. 

Fighting corruption is one of Switzerland's key priorities and vital to establishing good governance. Responsible and transparent action on the part of governments and the imposition of sanctions for corrupt acts are major weapons in fighting corruption.

Key objectives are ensuring that public funds are used effectively and efficiently for development within a particular country and building public trust in the government.  The SDC also aims to stop corrupt practices that subvert government institutions and political processes and to create a more level playing field, which helps reduce tensions. 

Focus of action

The SDC works to combat petty corruption that affects people's everyday lives, such as paying bribes for medical care. It also fights large-scale corruption involving powerful politicians and business leaders, with substantial sums changing hands. The SDC uses a two-pronged approach to tackle these issues: firstly, supporting specific anti-corruption programmes and secondly, incorporating anti-corruption measures into other areas of work. The SDC works to address all aspects of corruption, ranging from bribery, fraud and embezzlement to nepotism, unfair price-fixing and extortion.

Zero tolerance policy

If the SDC were to be affected by corruption, payments would normally be suspended pending the results of a legal investigation. In addition, the SDC strives to recover misappropriated funds in all circumstances.

Where can suspected instances of corruption be reported?

The FDFA Compliance Office is responsible for dealing with any instances of corruption or abuse which are reported within the FDFA or by external parties in connection with SDC-funded activities.


FDFA Compliance Office – Reporting corruption, misappropriation of funds and abuses

Alternatively, suspected instances of corruption may be reported on the whistleblowing platform of the Swiss Federal Audit Office.

Swiss Federal Audit Office (SFAO) whistleblowing platform

Current projects

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PADIT - Programa Plataforma Articulada para el Desarrollo Integral de los Territorios

06.12.2017 - 31.12.2022

PADIT apoya el fortalecimiento del desarrollo local en Cuba, genera herramientas de gestión descentralizada basadas en la articulación y cooperación entre niveles de decisión (nacional, provincial, municipal e intermunicipal) y entre el sector público y el privado y cooperativo para crear servicios y actividades productivas y mejorar opciones de empleo e ingresos, con énfasis en mujeres y jóvenes. A la vez, PADIT moviliza la participación ciudadana en las decisiones locales.


PRADEF - Programme Régional d’Appui à la Décentralisation Financière en Afrique de l’Ouest

01.12.2017 - 31.12.2024

La décentralisation financière permet aux collectivités locales de disposer de moyens pour délivrer des services de qualité aux populations. Or actuellement, en Afrique de l’Ouest, celles-ci reçoivent à peine 5% du budget des Etats. Partant de ce constat et fort de son expérience dans les pays prioritaires en Afrique de l’Ouest, la Suisse s’engagera pour un accroissement du taux de transfert à travers un appui au plaidoyer régional et la diffusion des meilleures pratiques. 


Efficient and Accountable Local Governance

01.11.2017 - 31.12.2022

Local Governments in Bangladesh are tasked to deliver important public services like education, agricultural extension and health. The project supports the clarification of functions for the local public sector, the enhancement of financial management and citizen participation for increased accountability in service delivery, with a focus on the sub-district level, and strengthening women’s participation in political processes. 


Parliament Support Programme (PSP)

01.11.2017 - 31.08.2023

Switzerland supports the Assembly of North Macedonia to become an effective, transparent and independent institution by supporting the Parliament’s institutional development, its oversight and legislative capacities and its transparency and accountability towards citizens, including marginalized groups. This includes changes to the regulatory framework, the promotion of a political culture of consensus building, capacity building for MPs, parliament staff and CSOs and improved electronic architecture for effective and transparent communication.


Potable Water Management Programme (PWMP) in Upper Egypt – Phase 1

01.07.2017 - 31.08.2022

Egypt is a water scarce country and has critical needs in better managing water resources and reducing water losses as well as water consumption. Switzerland can share its know-how in the water sector. This programme contributes to equitable access to safely managed water to deprived and informal settlement areas in the economically disadvantaged governorate of Aswan in Upper Egypt and to improved potable water management and service provision in Aswan Water & Sanitation Company (AWSC).


Albania: Bashki te Forta (Strong Municipalities)

01.06.2017 - 30.09.2022

Municipal administrations in all 61 municipalities in Albania will be supported to effectively manage service delivery based on the citizens’ needs. Municipal councils will be enabled to better represent citizens’ interests and ensure that public resources are well managed. Setting up a reliable and up-to-date local statistical system will allow an informed decision making. Through these improvements, citizens will benefit from better services such as waste and pre-school education and will actively be involved in local issues.


Health Promotion Cabo Delgado

01.04.2017 - 30.06.2022

Switzerland contributed to health promotion in Cabo Delgado Province in Northern Mozambique by supporting the retention of health promotion workers, strengthening community involvement and the public finance management. Phase 2 of the project builds up on this and newly address Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in order to improve access and quality in the provision of health and WASH services targeting the 23 rural health posts in  three districts of the Province that are serving a total population of 570’000 people.


Township Democratic Local Governance (TDLG)

01.12.2016 - 31.12.2022

In Mon State, with a traditionally strong Swiss presence, the project promotes a participatory, inclusive and transparent process around development grants, in order to improve the delivery of basic services at Township and village levels. Together with the state’s authorities, with the aim of including the governance structures of the Ethnic Armed Groups, the living conditions and space for democracy for the local people in ten Townships should improve with tangible development results.


Support to the DPCG (Development Partners’ Coordination Group) Secretariat in Rwanda

15.09.2016 - 15.09.2019

Switzerland and the UK, in an effort to facilitate a broad and fruitful development policy dialogue in Rwanda, will dedicate financial resources towards a UNDP support to the line ministry in charge of aid coordination. It entails, on the one hand, carrying out analytical research leading to evidence-based policy decision, and, on the other hand, the efficient management of the Development Partners’ Coordination Group (DPCG) Secretariat.


Zimbabwe Reconstruction Fund (ZimRef)

01.12.2015 - 31.12.2023

The Zimbabwe Reconstruction Fund is a multi-donor trust fund that supports the Government of Zimbabwe in its reconstruction and development efforts in particular by strengthening the Zimbabwean public finance management and accountability system for improved service delivery, including in the health sector. The fund, with its management mechanism, is currently a key instrument of dialogue and experience sharing between the donors and the Government of Zimbabwe.


Anti-Corruption Support

01.05.2015 - 31.03.2023

This intervention aims at fostering an institutional and social environment that is increasingly adverse to corruption. Support to reform-oriented “duty bearers” – by strengthening the technical and procedural capacities of the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) - will be combined with activities enhancing collective action by supporting the private sector for a more transparent business environment and a multi-media campaign inspiring behaviour change of citizens (“right holders”) to strengthen integrity.


Regional and Municipal Infrastructure Development in Georgia

10.04.2014 - 30.06.2023

The project will increase human and institutional capacities of all municipalities in Georgia (except the capital city Tbilisi). lt will enable them to perform independently the core three functions for decentralised delivery of basic infrastructure services, i. e. Project Cycle Management, Financial Management and Asset Management. Such a decentralized System will enable the Government to better respond to population needs at local level.

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