Egypt climbs in corruption ranking as business climate improves, group says

Ahram Online , Wednesday 3 Dec 2014

Egypt up 20 spots in global corruption index from last year, but ranking still 'shockingly low', says Transparency International

Perceived government corruption helped fuel popular anger against former president Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted in a 2011 uprising. (Photo: AP)

Improvements in Egypt's business climate in 2014 helped put the country among the biggest improvers worldwide in a corruption perceptions index issued by Transparency International for the year.

North Africa's largest economy climbed 20 spots to the 94th ranking out of 175 countries, the Berlin-based group said Wednesday. Egypt was ranked 114th in 2013. This year it scored 37 points out of 100, a five point increase over last year.

Perceived government corruption helped fuel popular anger against former president Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted in a 2011 uprising.

While Egypt's ranking improved this year according to the index, its score is still very low, Transparency International said, suggesting there is lots of work to be done to combat corruption.

"An improvement in one year does not reflect the social change on the ground but rather a relatively improving business climate," Farid Farid, a spokesperson for the group told Ahram Online. "The score of 37 is still shockingly low on a scale of 0-100 where 0 is most corrupt and 100 is cleanest. Egypt has failed to put the necessary reforms needed to effectively fight corruption."

A law passed in April that prevents third parties from challenging contracts made with the government, removing any judicial or civil oversight, opened the door for more corruption, Farid said.

The improvement in Egypt's score cannot be attributed to any single political entity as the country is undergoing a transitional period, Farid said.

"It must be noted that there has been no functioning parliament for nearly a year and a half, and there is no accountability of the executive when passing legislation," he said.

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, the former army chief who won 96 percent of votes in June's election, assumes legislative and executive powers due to the absence of a parliament.

Transparency international on Sunday criticised the acquittal of Mubarak from corruption charges, saying it was a message "that leaders can get away with decades of running a country while coffers are stripped bare."

On Saturday, the 86-year-old former autocrat was cleared of charges of corruption and killing protesters during the 2011 uprising.

Egypt scored a point less than the average for the Middle East and North Africa and ranked 11th in the region. The United Arab Emirates topped the list in the region, while Sudan came in last.

The index measures corruption based on "perceptions of country analysts, business people or the general public," Transparency International said.

A survey by international consultancy EY showed on Monday that Egyptian businesses experience some of the highest levels of fraud and corruption worldwide.

Corruption Perception Index world map. (Source: Transparency International)

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