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Pacific Island countries: Overview of corruption and anti-corruption

Pacific Island countries are diverse in geography, size, population, political and economic systems. Hence, attempts to extrapolate corruption trends from such a diverse group of states is somewhat problematic, and care should be taken to avoid generalisations. Nonetheless, some countries share common characteristics, such as reliance on natural resources, narrowly-based economies, remoteness from major markets and vulnerability to external shocks such as a health crisis. These common characteristics make them susceptible to various forms of corruption, including nepotism, cronyism, political corruption and external political manipulation from powerful countries. Corruption is rife in various sectors, including natural resources, public services and constituency development funds. In a bid to increase transparency and accountability, various international donors have launched anti-corruption initiatives, with some programmes intersecting or supporting initiatives run by national governments.

27 August 2020
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Pacific Island countries: Overview of corruption and anti-corruption

Main points

  • Some Pacific Island countries do not appear on several governance indicators, making it difficult to fully understand the extent of corruption in the region.
  • There is great diversity across the Pacific Island countries, in areas such as geography, size, culture, economies and political systems. However, many countries do share a set of common characteristics that affect governance issues and result in common forms of corruption, including bribery, nepotism, cronyism and political corruption.
  • Corruption is rife in various sectors, including natural resource management, public services and constituency development funds.
  • All countries have criminalised most corruption offences and have ratified UNCAC, with Tonga becoming the latest member state from the region after its ratification in 2020.
  • Anti-corruption programmes by donors usually intersect or support initiatives by national governments.

Cite this publication

Duri, J.; Rahman, K.; (2020) Pacific Island countries: Overview of corruption and anti-corruption. Bergen: U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, Chr. Michelsen Institute (U4 Helpdesk Answer 2020:22)

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About the authors

Jorum Duri

Jorum is a Research Coordinator at Transparency International, with his primary responsibilities at the Anti-Corruption Helpdesk.

Kaunain Rahman

Kaunain received her Master's in Corruption and Governance from The Centre for the Study of Corruption at the University of Sussex in the UK where her focus area of research was corruption in international business. She works as Research Coordinator at Transparency International (TI), and her main responsibilities lie with the Anti-Corruption Helpdesk.


All views in this text are the author(s)’, and may differ from the U4 partner agencies’ policies.

This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)