A new report from Transparency International has revealed the performance of countries in the Middle East and North Africa in combating corruption. Syria has been ranked as the country most affected by corruption in 2023. The 2022 Corruption Perceptions Index analyzed the transparency and anti-corruption efforts of 180 countries.
The results show a disappointing trend for the majority of countries in the region, with the average score for the region hitting a new low of 38 out of 100. The scale used by Transparency International, with a score of zero indicating a highly corrupt state, highlights the persistent challenge faced by countries in the region in tackling corruption.
“States across the Middle East and North Africa are struggling to achieve tangible results against corruption. No country has registered a significant improvement on the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) in the last decade,” Transparency International stated.
The biggest drop was seen in Oman, which lost 8 points from its previous score, now ranking 69 globally. On the other hand, Israel has seen an improvement, climbing 4 places to 31 on the corruption meter.
In terms of performance, the United Arab Emirates topped the list as the best performing country in the region, followed by Qatar and Saudi Arabia. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Syria ranked as the worst in the region. Other countries with low scores include Yemen, Libya, Iraq, and Lebanon.
Since Syria has been in a state of conflict and political turmoil for many years, corruption has been able to flourish in the absence of effective governance and rule of law. The economic sanctions imposed by international actors have also contributed to the country’s economic difficulties, leading to widespread corruption as individuals and businesses seek to find ways to survive and thrive. Additionally, the concentration of power in the hands of a few individuals, who are often connected to the government, has allowed corruption to spread throughout Syria with little to no accountability. The ongoing conflict has also created an environment where it is difficult to fight corruption, as institutions and systems that could otherwise play a role in addressing it have been weakened or dismantled. It is therefore not surprising that Syria has been ranked as the most corrupt country in the Middle East in 2023.
The ranking of Middle Eastern and North African countries from lowest to highest score are as follows: Syria, Yemen, Libya, Iraq, Lebanon, Iran, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Israel, and the United Arab Emirates.
Transparency International’s report serves as a reminder of the ongoing efforts needed to combat corruption and improve transparency in the Middle East and North Africa region.