The world's poor are losing billions of dollars they are rightfully entitled to – this keeps them in extreme poverty. Countries lose billions through illicit outflows going into the hands of corrupt officials, politicians and business leaders. Now a new international Christian campaign has been launched to crack corruption and help the poor. EXPOSED will see Christians around the world raise their voices together in a united response against corruption – culminating in a major week of campaigning starting on 14 October 2013.
Its new leader Dion Forster said: "We want to bring together millions of Christians from all denominations to stand together, united against corruption and fighting for the poor. Corruption is one of the greatest obstacles to dealing with extreme poverty and the campaign aims to mobilise Christians to join with wider society in exposing the practices which oppress the poor."
A new report by campaign group Global Financial Integrity suggests that corruption and tax evasion cost the developing world as much as $903bn in 2009 – a shocking figure that Dion and his team want to challenge.
Dion added: "We aim to challenge the global Church, business and governments. Every year well over US$1 TRILLION goes missing through mismanagement, illicit business practices and poor governance. It doesn't have to be this way. This money doesn’t just evaporate – it is actually deducted from the livelihood of some of the poorest people in the world."
The campaign is currently hosted by a group of Christian organisations including the World Evangelical Alliance, Bible Society (UK) and American Bible Society, Salvation Army, Unashamedly Ethical and Micah Challenge International. Many more are expected to get on board.
In September 2005 a Transparency International report showed that poor women in some parts of the world may have to pay an average of US$22 in bribes for maternal services when having their babies.
Dr Goodwill Shana, chair of heads of denominations in Zimbabwe, said: “While corruption is present everywhere from the boardrooms of corporations in developed countries to the dusty streets of Africa, in Africa it plays a far more significant role in keeping the poor in the unrelenting grip of destitution.”
Corinne Woods, director for the United Nations Millennium Development Programme, is enthusiastic about the campaign: "Every individual has a part to play in combating the corruption which erodes the promises of the millennium declaration. If we are to reach these goals in 2015 and respond to extreme poverty beyond we really do need to tackle corruption wherever it exists. I am so pleased that EXPOSED is picking up this challenge."
Rev Joel Edwards, chair of the steering group, said: "Our job is to provide a forum in which 100 million Christians will remind ourselves and the world of God’s passion for the poor. We are also excited about the growing interest from a wide range of churches and organisations who are passionate about this issue. EXPOSED is not about aggressive protest for its own sake. We want to shine a light in order to bring hope and redemption and we intend to bring examples of good practise as well as offer robust challenges to institutions which oppress the poor.”