22 February 2011

International media have focused on the turmoil in a number of countries across North Africa and the Middle East as populations mobilise to capture democratic rights. A comparison of the extent to which these societies suffer corrupt governments provides an interesting perspective on conditions which may give rise to pressure for reform. Tunisia for example was rated by Transparency International as one of the middling corrupt public administrations in the region – despite the reports that the former President had assets of more than US$ 70 billion invested outside the country. There are strong monarchies topping the list with lower corruption rates and republics with very corrupt governments at the bottom where seeking constitutional change does not appear to be a high priority for their populations.

The 2010 TI Corruption Perceptions Index listed countries in the region as follows:

19th Qatar 7.7

28th UAR 6.3

41st Oman 5.3

48th Bahrain 4.9

50th Jordan / Saudi Arabia 4.7

54th Kuwait 4.5

59th Tunisia 4.3

85th Morocco 3.4

98th Egypt 3.1

105th Algeria 2.9

116th Ethiopia / Mali 2.7

127th Lebanon / Syria 2.5

143rd Mauritania / Pakistan 2.3

146th Libya / Yemen / Iran 2.2

171 Chad 1.7

172 Sudan 1.6

Transparency International rates New Zealand, where democratic processes are taken for granted, as the least corrupt public administration, with a score of 9.3.