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Zombies, Colin Farrell Uncover a ‘Trillion Dollar Scandal’

NEW VIDEO: Developing countries are being robbed of at least $1 trillion each year—it is nothing short of a “Trillion Dollar Scandal”

WASHINGTON – Ahead of the G20 summit in Brisbane, Australia, The ONE Campaign released a new video today highlighting the fact that at least a trillion dollars is siphoned out of developing and emerging countries through corrupt activity every year. We’re talking about shady natural resource deals, phantom firms, money laundering, and illegal tax evasion.

This video, produced by British creative agency, Don’t Panic, features a voiceover by Colin Farrell and uses zombies to make the point that anyone – even a dead person – can engage in the shady business practices that are short-changing developing nations by a trillion dollars every year. That’s a trillion dollars that could be used on hospitals, schools, and infrastructure for millions of people trapped in extreme poverty.

ONE’s report, The Trillion Dollar Scandal, estimates that as many as 3.6 million deaths could be prevented each year in developing countries if these illicit flows could be stopped and the money collected were invested in lifesaving services where the need is greatest. Concrete action must be taken at this year’s G20 meetings to end the secrecy that allows corruption and criminality to thrive.

Eloise Todd, ONE’s Global Policy Director, said:

“If money lost through illicit financial flows were harnessed and invested in lifesaving services it could save as many as 3.6 million lives. When G20 leaders meet in Australia next week, they should commit to common sense policies that crack down on illicit financial activity.

Our new film, smartly produced by Don’t Panic! highlights the absurdity of allowing bad policies that allow shady deals to go unchecked and corruption to thrive. The trillion dollars we’re talking about isn’t foreign assistance; it’s money that could be spent on lifesaving necessities like health care, food security or essential infrastructure.”

  • ONE’s new analysis also shows that if developing countries reduced levels of corruption, the additional money made available could:
  • Educate an additional 10 million children per year;
  • Pay for an additional half-million primary school teachers – providing all out-of-school children in 16 African countries with an education;
  • Provide antiretroviral drugs for over 11 million people living with HIV/AIDS; and
  • Pay for almost 165 million vaccines.

The full report is available here.

The video is available here.


Editors Notes:

  1. To calculate the impact of corruption on funds available for health, education and other interventions, we used a study conducted by Dreher and Herzfeld (2005) entitled ‘The Economic Costs of Corruption: A Survey and New Evidence’. Using corruption scores from the International Country Risk Guide, the study measures the impact of corruption on a number of dependent variables, concluding that a one-point increase in corruption results in a decrease in government spending (as a percentage of GDP) of 1.3–3%. Using spending data from the IMF for 2012, we quantified the impact in US dollars of a 3% decrease in government spending. Using agriculture, education and health spending data from the Regional Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support System (ReSAKSS), UNESCO and the World Health Organisation (WHO) respectively, we calculated the additional funds that could be available for each sector given a 3% increase in spending resulting from a one-point decrease in corruption. We then used data from PEPFAR, GAVI and UNESCO to calculate what these additional funds could buy, assuming that all of this money would be spent on these interventions.
  1. ONE’s France Director, Friederike Roder, is available for interviews and will be on the ground in Brisbane, Australia for the G20 Summit. For interview requests please contact Annabel Hervieu: [email protected]


ONE is a campaigning and advocacy organization of more than 6 million people taking action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. Not politically partisan, we raise public awareness and press political leaders to combat AIDS and preventable diseases, increase investments in agriculture and nutrition, and demand greater transparency in poverty-fighting programs. ONE is not a grant-making organization and does not solicit funding from the public or receive government funding. ONE is funded almost entirely by foundations, individual philanthropists and corporations. We achieve change through advocacy. Our teams in Washington, D.C., New York, London, Johannesburg, Brussels, Berlin, and Paris educate and lobby governments to shape policy solutions that save and improve millions of lives. To learn more, go to ONE.org.


The BAFTA-winning creative agency specialises in shareable content designed to produce high levels of engagement and response. In recognition of which they picked up a Cannes Gold Cyber Lion this summer. Trillion Dollar Scandal is the latest campaign from Don’t Panic.