x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Perception of corruption on the rise in Arab Spring countries

Levels of corruption are on the rise in several Arab nations, according to respondents to a survey by Transparency International.

Perceived corruption has risen in several Arab Spring countries in the past two years, according to a new survey by Transparency International.

The findings by the anti-graft watchdog suggest the wave of uprisings in the region since late 2010 have done little to curb levels of bribery and other corruption.

A total of 37 per cent of respondents surveyed in Egypt said they felt corruption had greatly increased in the past two years. About 61 per cent gave the same response in Tunisia, 57 per cent in Algeria and 29 per cent in Libya.

In those countries, the number of people who felt corruption had increased significantly outweighed those who felt it had stayed the same or had lessened.

The survey did not cover the Arabian Gulf states.

The region has undergone a period of tumult in the past two and a half years as four rulers have been overthrown and in Egypt's case the successor as president - Mohammed Morsi - has also been ousted. Unhappiness with perceived fraud, nepotism and other dishonesty was one of the many sparks that led to the unrest.

Globally, more than one in two people believed corruption had worsened in the past two years, according to Transparency International's Global Corruption Barometer, which surveyed 114,000 people in 107 countries.

"Bribe-paying levels remain very high worldwide, but people believe they have the power to stop corruption and the number of those willing to combat the abuse of power, secret dealings and bribery is significant," said Huguette Labelle, the chairwoman of Transparency International. In other Arab countries, of the most popular response given to the question of how corruption had changed in the past two years, 33 per cent of respondents in Yemen felt it had risen a little.

In Jordan 44 per cent of those felt it had stayed the same, compared with 30 per cent in the Palestinian Territories and 33 per cent in Morocco. A total of 28 per cent of those surveyed in Sudan said corruption had dropped slightly.

In Turkey, a country hit by anti-government protests in recent weeks, 38 per cent of respondents felt corruption had risen markedly.

Generally, respondents in the region viewed politicians and other officials as more likely to take or give bribes than business people. Still, in Morocco 56 per cent of respondents felt businesses were affected by corruption, a proportion almost as high in Yemen and Egypt.

 

tarnold@thenational.ae