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Report: Corruption in Arab World Increased Ahead of Uprisings

Women protest during a rally denouncing corruption, demanding better civil rights and demanding a new constitution, in Casablanca, April 24, 2011

A new report shows that corruption in Egypt and elsewhere in the Arab world increased in the lead-up to the recent uprisings in the region.

The assessment, released Wednesday by the international nonprofit organization Global Integrity, said anti-corruption and transparency measures in Egypt were on a steady decline since 2006, putting increased pressure on the country's already fragile government.

The report says Yemen, Morocco and the West Bank experienced similar challenges - with barriers to independent media, enforcing asset disclosures for political leaders and effectively auditing government agencies and programs.

Global Integrity's Managing Director Nathaniel Heller said that with rare exceptions the Middle East and North Africa are what he called "black holes" when it comes to good governance.

The report also shows that many countries in eastern and central Europe have been on a continual slide in anti-corruption and transparency performance, despite their entry into the European Union and NATO.

Global Integrity says the number of countries on its Grand Corruption Watch List increased from 15 to 18 with the addition of Malaysia, Nigeria and Tanzania.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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