Qatar tops Middle East, North Africa in corruption rankings

September 24th, 2008 - 5:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Dubai, Sep 24 (IANS) Qatar led the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region in the latest Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2008 released by the Berlin-based NGO Transparency International (TI).Qatar topped the region with a rank of 28th and scoring 6.5 on a scale ranging from zero (highly corrupt) to 10 (highly clean).

It shared the position with Spain, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Other Gulf states to follow Qatar are the United Arab Emirates (UAE) at 35th position (5.9 points), Oman at 41st (5.5) and Bahrain at 43rd (5.4).

While Oman shared its rank with Mauritius, Bahrain was at the same level as Macau.

The other two Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, were ranked 65th (4.3) and 80th (3.5), respectively.

While Kuwait shared the rank with Cuba, corruption levels in Saudi Arabia were seen at the same level as in Brazil, Thailand and Burkina Fasso.

Denmark, New Zealand and Sweden shared this year’s top spot with the highest score of 9.3, followed by Singapore at 9.2.

At the bottom is Somalia at 1.0, slightly trailing Iraq and Myanmar at 1.3 and Haiti at 1.4.

The list covered 180 countries across the world.

In a statement, Johann Graf Lambsdorff of the University of Passau, who carries out the CPI survey for TI, underscored the disastrous effects of corruption and gains from fighting it.

“Evidence suggests that an improvement in the CPI by one point (on a 10-point scale) increases capital inflows by 0.5 percent of a country’s gross domestic product and average incomes by as much as four percent,” he said.

The TI report named Qatar, Oman and Bahrain along with Albania, Benin, Cyprus, Dominica, Georgia, Indonesia, Jordan, Mauritius, Nigeria, Poland, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, South Korea, Tonga and Turkey as the countries showing significant improvements in rankings from last year.

Bulgaria, Burundi, Finland, France, Italy, Macao, Maldives, Norway, Portugal, Somalia, Timor-Leste and Britain were named as noteworthy examples of deterioration from last year.

TI, in its report, also warned that in low-income countries, rampant corruption jeopardised the global fight against poverty, threatening to derail the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

“According to TI’s 2008 Global Corruption Report, unchecked levels of corruption would add $50 billion - or nearly half of annual global aid outlays - to the cost of achieving the MDG on water and sanitation,” it said.

“Not only does this call for a redoubling of efforts in low-income countries, where the welfare of significant portions of the population hangs in the balance, it also calls for a more focussed and coordinated approach by the global donor community to ensure development assistance is designed to strengthen institutions of governance and oversight in recipient countries, and that aid flows themselves are fortified against abuse and graft,” it added.

TI said this is the message it would take to the ongoing 63rd UN General Assembly session where member states would meet Sep 25 to take stock on progress in reaching the MDGs, and ahead of the UN conference on financing for development to be held in Doha, Qatar.

Meanwhile, following the release of the CPI 2008, the Bahrain Transparency Society (BTS) has attributed that country’s rise from 46th position in 2007 to 43rd this year to announcements made by the Bahrain’s Tender Board and the publication of oil prices on the National Oil and Gas Authority’s website.

In a statement to the official Bahrain News Agency, BTS president Abdulnabi Alekry expressed the hope that Bahrain would achieve a more advanced ranking and better CPI score.

He also revealed that BTS was currently preparing a national transparency report to be presented at the Athens Transparency Conference in November this year.

He said that the society has been in contact with reporters, auditors and economists to compile this report.

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