Arab countries drop on Global Corruption Barometer

Amr El-Feki, Thursday 9 Dec 2010

Rising perceptions of corruption in MENA countries during the past three years has seen Arab countries dropping down Transparency International's global corruption barometer.

one third of Arabs paid a bribe at least once in 2010.
Corruption increased in MENA (Middle East and North Africa) countries during the past three years. It is widespread in forms both petty and grand, reported the Global Corruption Barometer 2010, released Thursday on the occasion of International Anti-Corruption Day.

More than half those interviewed in 2010 considered that corruption has increased, with only three out of 10 respondents feeling that corruption remained unchanged in the last three years. Only one out of seven thought corruption had declined. Women believed more than men that levels of corruption had increased.

The Global Corruption Barometer, published by Transparency International (TI), is based on interviews with 91,000 persons from 86 countries. TI is a coalition of NGOs supported by many governments and the World Bank. 

In MENA region, one third of the interviewed sample believe "nobody" is entrusted to fight corruption. Even less (28 per cent) see political leaders as entrusted to fight corruption. Meanwhile, "One third of respondants paid a bribe in the Middle East to at least one service provider last year. Iraq and the Palestinian Authority were the most prominent cases," states the report.

The report notes no reduction in petty bribery in the last five years. One third of respondents reported paying a bribe to the police during the past 12 months. In 2006, the percentage was 16 per cent. In the Middle East, half those who paid bribes aimed at "speeding things up".

TI describes corruption in the MENA region as "deeply rooted in the political infrastructure of the state". The large public sector is seen as a contributing factor. Nonetheless, eight out of 10 respondents from the MENA region thought that ordinary people can make a difference in combating corruption, while nine out 10 would support relatives and friends in such a fight.

Globally, the most corrupt sector is deemed to be political parties. Almost 80 per cent of all respondents think parties are corrupted. Next comes civil servants at 62 per cent. Other sectors deemed vulnerable to corruption were parliament, police, business or the private sector, religious bodies, the judiciary, media, the education system, non-governmental organisations and the military.  

The Ministry of State for Administrative Development is today, in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, celebrating International Anti-Corruption Day.

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