The Berlin-based corruption watchdog Transparency International has published its 2019 report detailing public sector corruption across the world.
The Corruption Perceptions Index, which ranks 180 countries from 0, highly corrupt, to 100, very clean, revealed that two Arab countries, Yemen and Syria, are among the most corrupt countries in the world.
At the very top is New Zealand and Denmark, whilst Somalia, South Sudan and Syria sit at the bottom.
Within the Middle East and North Africa, the UAE is the least corrupt followed by Qatar. At the other end of the spectrum, Syria is bottom with 13 points having dropped 13 points, followed by Yemen with 15 points after dropping eight points.
According to TI more than half of the MENA region believe that corruption is on the rise and that their governments aren’t doing enough to combat it.
Nearly one in two people in Lebanon are offered bribes in exchange for votes and one in four are threatened if they don’t vote how they are asked to, the NGO says.
Powerful individuals often pocket public funds that should be used to build schools, roads and hospitals for its citizens.
In addition to this, one in five citizens have been bribed in exchange for access to public services including health care or education TI’s report shows.
5 most corrupt MENA states
In Jordan, Lebanon or Palestine, more than a third of people use wasta – family connections – to access basic services.
At the same time, few political leaders are prosecuted for corruption as independent judiciaries are rare or non-existent.
Over the past several months, people across the region have taken matters into their own hands and taken to the streets to protest corruption.
In Egypt, which scored 35 worldwide and 11 regionally, anti-corruption protesters united across the country last September following whistleblower Mohamed Ali’s revelations that the ruling regime were misusing public money.