Arab countries score low in Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index

Arab countries score low in Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index
The annual Transparency International CPI has shown corruption is perceived to be a major problem in the MENA region.
2 min read
30 January, 2024
Corruption was a major problem in the MENA region in 2023 [Getty/file photo]

Corruption remains a major concern in the MENA region, according to Transparency International's annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), with three Arab League countries ranking in the bottom five.

Syria and Yemen - alongside Venezuela and South Sudan - occupied the bottom rungs of the survey, with Somalia the worst performer for 2023, scoring just 11 out of 100 points.

The CPI collates a variety of indices and surveys, including interviews with business leaders, to determine perceptions of corruption in the public sector

The 2023 index, released on Tuesday, showed huge concerns about corruption in the Arab world, with a lack of political will to tackle the issue.

"The loss of momentum in anti-corruption efforts across the Middle East and North Africa is diminishing public trust," said Kinda Hattar, Regional Advisor for Middle East and North Africa, Transparency International, in a statement.

"At the same time, adopting a reactive, rather than preventative, approach to fighting corruption impairs good governance."

The UAE and Qatar were the best performers in the Arab world in the 2023 index, scoring 68/100 and 58/100 respectively, and ranking 26th and 40th out of 180 countries, above Italy, Czechia, and Cyprus.

Saudi Arabia - which has promoted an anti-corruption drive -  improved by one point in 2023, taking it to 52/100 and 53rd out of 180 countries.

Jordan, the next best-performing country in the Arab world, dropped a point to score 46/100 and 63rd in the world.

Kuwait improved its score by 4 points (46/100), Algeria by 3 points (36/100), and Egypt by 5 points (35/100),  although other MENA countries such as Oman (43/100) and Bahrain (42/100) dropped down the rankings.

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Overall, Arab countries performed badly in this year's index, with an average score of 34/100, with high levels of political corruption that have hindered anti-corruption efforts.

"Corruption continues to hinder citizens’ access to essential services, including health and education, and in many cases, even threatens their right to life," said Hattar.

Non-Arab Turkey (34/100) and Iran (24/100) continued a downward trend, reflecting concerns about corruption and poor governance in these countries.

TI said war and political instability contributed to the downward trend in corruption in the MENA region.