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Performance of Arab Countries on the Corruption Perceptions Index for 2020

Arab Region - Friday, February 5, 2021

A few days ago, Transparency International released the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) for 2020, which ranked 180 countries on a scale ranging from zero (highly corrupt) to one hundred (very clean), showing that most countries  are still unable to make important  progress in curbing corruption. For example, more than two-thirds of the countries included in the index scored less than 50 points. Both New Zealand and Denmark maintained the lead with 88 points, advancing one point from 2019, while Somalia remained in last place with a total of only 12 points.


As for the Arab states’ region, although the regional average has not changed compared to 2019 (34.48 points), ten out of twenty-one Arab countries included in the index have made progress in their total number of points. This progress was limited to one point in most cases, while six countries regressed, and five others maintained the same score. Among the countries whose performance did not change is the United Arab Emirates, which remained in first place among Arab countries with a total of 71 points. Paradoxically, Somalia’s performance improved the most, by three points, while it remained in the last place in the Arab world and globally. Oman and Kuwait scored two additional points each, which made them among the most improved Arab countries in 2020. The Comoros Islands recorded the biggest decline among the Arab countries, scoring 21 points as compared to 25 in 2019, followed by Djibouti and Lebanon, whose scores fell by three points.


On the occasion of releasing the index, Transparency International declared that corruption "undermines an equitable response to COVID-19 and other crises, highlighting the importance of transparency and anti-corruption measures in emergency situations", since high levels of corruption in a country negatively and directly affect its ability to effectively address the pandemic. In the same context, the Chair of Transparency International, Ms. Delia Ferreira Rubio, said, “COVID-19 is not just a health and economic crisis. It is a corruption crisis. And one that we are currently failing to manage. The past year has tested governments like no other in memory, and those with higher levels of corruption have been less able to meet the challenge. But even those at the top of the CPI must urgently address their role in perpetuating corruption at home and abroad."


Finally, it is worth noting that the CPI is a composite index based on data collected by Transparency International from thirteen indicators mainly measuring perceptions and opinions of experts and the business community on corruption in the public sector.


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