News / Africa

Study: Connection Between Corruption, Recent Revolutions

Thousands of Egyptians protest in Cairo's central Tahrir Square, the focal point of Egyptian uprising, as they hold banners and signs demanding prosecution of ousted president Hosni Mubarak and his regime Friday, April 8, 2011
Thousands of Egyptians protest in Cairo's central Tahrir Square, the focal point of Egyptian uprising, as they hold banners and signs demanding prosecution of ousted president Hosni Mubarak and his regime Friday, April 8, 2011

Multimedia

Audio

A study by Global Integrity, an international nonprofit organization, says corruption risks increased in Egypt, some Middle Eastern, North African and Eastern European nations before this year's popular uprisings that swept the region.

Global Integrity Managing Director Nathaniel Heller likened corruption to a black hole when he spoke to reporters at the release of a new report he said seeks to measure transparency and good governance measures that can counter corruption.   

Heller said anti-corruption data collected in 2010 for Yemen, Morocco, and the West Bank show they face challenges similar to those experienced in Egypt before that country's popular uprising in January.

"Looking back across several years of assessments from countries like Egypt, Yemen, Morocco, the West Bank, we have seen a steady decline almost universally in the region and for almost all countries dating back to at least 2006," he said. "In Egypt in particular, we saw this steady march downward from a situation that was already very challenging when it came to anti-corruption and transparency to one that was becoming an incredibly poor situation."

The new study finds that Egypt, Yemen, Morocco and the West Bank did not fare well on measures to promote anti-corruption safeguards, such as an independent media, transparency of senior government officials' assets and effective auditing of government programs to ensure funds were not being diverted.     

Global Integrity has generated 207 national assessments since 2006. In that time, Israel and the United Arab Emirates were the only two countries studied in the Middle East and North Africa that avoided the label of "very weak" on anti-corruption safeguards.

"In some ways, it is not surprising what is going on," said Heller. "I think we are starting to see the real evidence of a breaking point when it comes to citizens just being unable to deal with a scenario in which there is virtually zero government accountability, zero means of seeking redress for abuse of power."     

It is not just the Middle East and North Africa that concern the Washington-based nonprofit.

Global Integrity says there was improvement in Eastern European nations, such as Bulgaria, Romania and Poland as they strove to meet requirements to join the European Union and NATO. But, Heller said, since these nations joined these international blocs, they have felt less pressure to maintain anti-corruption and transparency gains.

"And, three or four years ago, we predicted that we would see these data decline over time as that carrot and that incentive disappeared.  When we looked at the data for this year from the 2010 results for Romania, Bulgaria and Poland in particular, unfortunately, we saw that prediction borne out precisely,"  said Heller.

In South Asia, Global Integrity found anti-corruption safeguards weakened significantly in Pakistan last year for the first time, after the country struggled for years as a "middle performer." Heller said he suspects that corruption probably played a role in terrorist Osama bin Laden's ability to elude capture until he was killed by U.S. commandos.

"And given what we now know, just from media reporting about the bin-Laden raid and where he was living for the past several years, I think it does raise some really interesting questions in terms of how someone like that could live in a giant villa, close to a military base, close to the national capital, and simply not raise eyebrows for several years," he said.

Global Integrity says Argentina, Peru and Ethiopia all demonstrated a noticeable improvement in anti-corruption performance in 2010. The report said, in Ethiopia, there have been gains in the areas of public access to information, civil service professionalism, conflict of interest safeguards across all three branches of government, as well as political financing transparency safeguards.

Global Integrity says it bases its report on the findings of local researchers, journalists and academics.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid