Integrity, Corruption and Development in Arab Countries

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Integrity, Corruption and Development in Arab Countries. A Systemic Perspective Ahmed Sakr Ashour April 2006. The Anticorruption Scene in the Arab Region. Interest in combating corruption in the Arab Countries has been rising over the last decade. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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<ul><li><p>Integrity, Corruption and Development in Arab CountriesA Systemic Perspective</p><p>Ahmed Sakr Ashour</p><p> April 2006</p></li><li><p>The Anticorruption Scene in the Arab Region.Interest in combating corruption in the Arab Countries has been rising over the last decade.Chapters of TI were established in almost half of counties of the region.A number of regional conferences were held on the subject.A regional anticorruption organization headed by Dr. Selim Al-Huss was established and held its first conference in Beirut last year.Another regional organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption along with national chapters were also established two years ago.Arab states are starting to join the UN convention against corruption.An increasing number of Arab countries are taking a set of measures to confront corruption including establishing anticorruption entities (e.g.. Jordan)</p></li><li><p> National and Pan Arab activist organizations and groups are bringing the issue of corruption in Arab Countries under the lime light. The independent media in a growing number of Arab countries are focusing on and publishing about corruption incidents, cases and issues. Regional and international organizations (e.g. ARADO, TI, UN, UNDP, POGAR of UNDP, World Bank, World Economic Forum) have held meetings and published studies on the issue in the region.</p></li><li><p>The Reform SceneVarious Initiatives have been taken over the last two decades:</p><p>Economic restructuring and reform policies including privatization have been adopted by almost all countries of the region.</p><p>Various political liberalization and democratization initiatives have been taken over the last five years.</p><p>The public sector have been the focus of various administrative modernization and reform initiatives. Some of them were with the support of international organizations.</p></li><li><p>Why Interest in Reform and in Combating Corruption is Rising? The Arab region has been experiencing stagnation in development and growth over the last two decades, and has been lagging behind in economic performance compared to the rest of the world. For Example:Annual growth in per capita income was 0.5 % which is less than sub-Sahara Africa. This rate was 5% for East Asia.</p><p>Export performance grew by 1.5 during the 1990s , compared to 6% for the world.</p><p>The share in foreign investment during the last decade was less than 1% of FDI in developing countries. This percentage was 59 % for East Asian countries.</p><p>Indicators of unemployment , productivity and poverty point to the slow and sluggish development performance.</p></li><li><p>To what extent is the slow and sluggish development performance of the Arab region a function of: Corruption Reform Deficiency</p><p>Answering this question sheds a great deal of light on the importance of combating corruption and of engaging in a set of profound and comprehensive reforms for unleashing the forces for development and growth in the region.</p><p>Tackling corruption and reform deficiency are related. As will be illustrated later, the effective combating of corruption require the uprooting and tackling of its causes and underlying factors. </p></li><li><p>A look at the Corruption Scene in the Arab RegionCorruption Perception Index(2005):</p></li><li><p>Looking at the CPIMost Arab countries fall below the median (median = 80).</p><p>Some Arab countries had a score and a rank close to other countries:Oman is equal to Israel and close to Portigue and Astonia.EAU is close to Slovenia.Qatar is equal to Botswana, Taiwan and Uruguay.Jordan is equal to Cyprus and close to Malaysia.</p><p>The magnitude and seriousness of corruption is in some cases greater than what CPI indicates. This has to do mostly with grand corruption which is likely to be hidden. Grand and state capture corruption is a great problem in many Arab countries. The CPI methodology mostly reflects administrative/petty corruption</p></li><li><p>Relationship Between Corruption, its Infrastructure and DevelopmentResults from an ongoing project supported by POGAR on combating corruption.</p></li><li><p>Competiti-veness(R = 0.917) Expenditure on Health and Education(R = 0.571)Share in FDI(R = 0.412)Poverty(R = 0.522)GDP Per Capita(R = 0.875)Expenditure On Health(R = 0.690)Unofficial Economy(R = 0.674)CorruptionControl of Corruption(R = 0.962)Government Effectiveness(R = 0.935)Voice andAccountability(R = 0.684)Rule of Law(R = 0.920)Regulatory Quality(R = 0.827)Political Stability(R = 0.790)Governance/Institutional Infrastructure</p></li><li><p>Institutional and Legal Reforms Against Corruption that Have Been Taken by Most Countries of the RegionArab government have transformed their address from denial to admission of the problem of corruption.</p><p>Anticorruption reforms in the region have mostly been legalistic and institutional in nature.</p><p>The measures commonly taken are:Activating and strengthening the role of control agencies and extending their out reach.Establishing anticorruption bodies reporting to the government.Passing a set of anticorruption laws.Prosecuting and trying corruption cases involving high state officials.Declaring that the government is adopting anticorruption posture.Introducing modernization and reforms to the civil service system and government administration.Introducing other institutional reforms (e.g. The Judiciary)</p></li><li><p>The legal and Institutional Initiatives Against Corruption Have Been Mostly Cosmetic</p><p>Corruption continues to thrive in virtually all domains of economic, administrative and political activity across the Arab region.</p><p>The legal and institutional reforms were:</p><p>Not attacking the system under which corruption thrives.</p><p>Not integrated into a comprehensive plan and a strategy.</p><p>Not backed by strong political support.</p></li><li><p>There is More to the Reform Against Corruption Than the Legal and Institutional Measures, Even if They Represent a Comprehensive All Out Attack</p><p>Corruption in the region is high in both types:Grand/ state capture Petty/ administrative</p><p>Grand corruption is widespread in all countries of the region.</p><p>Petty corruption (especially bribes) is more common in the middle and low income countries.</p></li><li><p>The Underlying Factors of Corruption in the Region:</p><p>Governance: Countries of the region suffer from governance deficiency or gab. This has been well documented (World Bank, 2003).</p><p>Broadly speaking, governance has two fronts:</p><p>Political Infrastructure of the state.</p><p>The institutional Infrastructure of the public sector.</p><p>The governance gap the region suffers from is on both fronts.</p></li><li><p>But There is More to the Underlying Factors of Corruption in the Region:</p><p>The Economic Infrastructure:</p><p>Most countries of the region have economies that rely greatly on rent.</p><p>Rent-seeking is a common economic activity in the region.</p><p>Non productive sectors (rent seeking, rent-based and a sizeable portion of the government) represent a significant segment of the regions economies.</p><p>The public sector remains to overwhelm the economic life in most countries of the region.</p><p>Many economic sectors of these countries are monopoly-based.</p></li><li><p>The Social/ Cultural Infrastructure (Societal and Administrative Ethics)</p><p>The tribes and the nucleus family is a powerful social force in most Arab societies. This explains the spread of nepotism.</p><p>The spread of corruption in various spheres of life made people tolerant and accustomed to corruption.</p><p>Cultural and ethical reform is not part of the official reform address or agenda in all countries of the region. </p></li><li><p>Corruption is Much More Complex and Deeply Rooted in the Region Than the Implicit Assumptions Underlying the Reforms Adopted or Applied so FarEffective combating requires: Integrated multidimensional reform.</p><p> Political reform represent the obstacle and the real solution, especially for grand corruption.</p><p> Crafting a strategy that tackles the causes and that fits the governance conditions of each country.</p><p> Establishing a broad coalition among anticorruption and pro-integrity forces/ stakeholders including invigorating of the civil society.</p><p> Monitoring the success and progress of the anticorruption program/measures.</p><p> Tackling the sectors and institutions infected by corruption the most and critically impacting on development (e.g. legislature, judiciary, police, election system, political parties, financial sector)</p></li></ul>

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