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

    New EU Asylum Rules Could Boost Rightists

    New regulations will seek to correct EU failures in dealing with migrant crisis, most notably inability to get member states to absorb a total of 160,000 refugees

    More Political Turmoil Likely in Iraq as Iran Waits in the Wings

    Analysts warn that Tehran, even though it may not be engineering the Sadrist protests in Baghdad, is seeking to leverage its influence on its neighbor

    Goodbye Ketchup, Hello Sriracha!

    How immigrants are triggering a great transformation in American cuisine

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Rulingi
    X
    May 03, 2016 5:16 PM
    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora