Surpassing UAE, Qatar ranked least corrupt country in MENA region

for illustrative purposes only

Lesley Walker

Photo for illustrative purposes only

Qatar’s government is seen to be the most trustworthy of all in the Middle East and the North Africa (MENA), according to the latest results of an international league table.

In the 21st annual edition of the Corruption Perception Index 2015, Qatar came in 22nd place out of 168 countries worldwide, up four places from its position last year and finally beating out the UAE.

CPI 2015 global rankings

Transparency International

CPI 2015 global rankings

Berlin-based Transparency International ranks states according to their levels of public sector corruption, as judged by around a dozen world institutions such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, Economist Intelligence Unit and the Asian Bank.

Denmark took the top spot in this year’s index, while North Korea and Somalia came in joint bottom place. The UK took 10th position while the USA came in at 16th.

Region’s rankings

In the Gulf, the UAE fell just behind Qatar this year, coming in joint 23rd place with France, Chile and Estonia.

CPI 2015 - Regional rankings

Transparency International

CPI 2015 – Regional rankings

The other GCC states trailed further behind:

  • Saudi Arabia – 48th;
  • Bahrain – 50th;
  • Kuwait – 55th; and
  • Oman – 60th.

According to the index authors, top performers have high levels of press freedom, public access to budget information, high levels of integrity among people in power and an independent judiciary.

Conflict and war, poor governance, weak public institutions like police and the judiciary and a lack of independence in the media all contribute to low scores for states at the bottom of the rankings.

Qatar has steadily been moving up the table in perceptions of government trustworthiness, although this year’s index included seven fewer countries than last year’s 175. In 2012, Qatar came in joint 27th place with the UAE.

Qatar’s actual score for the index was 71 out of 100. A total of two-thirds of the countries rated by TI scored less than 50 in a system where 0 is for a state believed to be highly-corrupt and 100 very clean.

TI has created an international “heat map” showing how countries fare, with those colored red seen as the least transparent, and light-yellow the most.

Regional snapshot of 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI)

Transparency International

Regional snapshot of 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI)

While Qatar (darker yellow) is moving in the right direction, the index did warn that Qatar’s score meant it is ” perceived as cleaner, but not perfect”.

The report stated:

“The scale of the issue (corruption) is huge. Sixty-eight per cent of countries worldwide have a serious corruption problem. Half of the G20 are among them.

Not one single country, anywhere in the world, is corruption-free.”

Brazil was the biggest decliner in the index, falling five points and dropping seven positions to a ranking of 76th.

Countries showing the greatest decline over the past four years include Libya, Australia, Brazil, Spain and Turkey, while the big improvers are rated as Greece, Senegal and UK.

“Corruption can be beaten if we work together. To stamp out the abuse of power, bribery and shed light on secret deals, citizens must together tell their governments they have had enough,” José Ugaz, chairman of Transparency International, said in a statement.

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