Corruption Is A Major Driver Of Arab Revolutions!

By Marwan Moasher

تم نشره في Tue 9 August / Aug 2016. 12:00 AM
  • Marwan Al Moasher

The relationship between corruption and development has cleared out. Many studies worldwide over the last 20 years, in numbers, point to the effects of corruption on lowering development indices, and subsequently incurring damage to societies in whole. More so, many surveys following the Arab revolutions in 2011 show corruption ranks atop the priorities of public opinion makers and societies in motion all alike, as one of the region’s most vital challenges.

In an attempt to emboss the driving factor of corruption to Arab unrests, in numbers, I took a look at the Corruption Perception Index issued by Transparency International, a global organisation surveying 180 countries every year, measuring the public perceptions on corruption, and measuring countries accordingly from the least corrupt, ranked one, to the most corrupt, ranked 180. And while the indices are imprecise, they do give a generally reliable indication to where countries rank over the years in regards to their efforts to counter corruption.

If we look into the indices of 3 Arab countries; Egypt, Tunisia, and Jordan, over the decade prior to the “Spring” from the year 2000 through 2010, given those countries had instituted ground economic reformations over that particular interval, unaccompanied by political reforms to reinforce the authorities of the legislative and judiciary institutions, nor by reassertions on their monitory and accountability roles to address violations and corruptions that usually come with economic reformations, the conclusions seem exquisitely interesting.

Egypt dropped from 63rd place, out of 180, to 98th in 2010. Tunisia, as well, from 32 to 59, and Jordan, ranking 50th from 39th place on the index, for the same interval.

That in mind, it is no mystery that Egypt and Tunisia had such overthrowing revolts; the indices of corruption in both had skyrocketing; that is to say that there developed a public perception of corruption increasing noticeably, compared to a lesser intense escalation of corruption in Jordan, even though the Country dropped further to the 66th  place in 2013.

So, what does this all mean? To begin with, it became obvious that policies focused exclusively on economic reforms do not suffice. Not only have these discourses failed in lowering unemployment, public indebtedness, or enhancements in the quality of education and health services, but they actually led to a sharp increase in corruption indices to the point that many people now tie reformation to corruption, and not enhancements in the quality of life.  Additionally, the Arab Human Development report by the United Nations for the year 2004 says that the bread before liberty equation or approach nearly cost the Arab peoples both; liberties and bread!

Second to that, while it is certainly unacceptable for Jordan to have made such high corruption figures, nor for the Country to rank 53rd in 2015, 20 ranks higher in terms of corruption compared to where it stood in 2003, at 33; there is a necessity to outline more effective and stricter legislation to reinforce more political intent and vigour by the government, that is if we really want to fight corruption with institutional instruments; especially now that the people cannot help but wonder how could there be so much corruption with no corrupted people? More so, who can deny petty corruption, newly a-spread in our society with the infestation of favouritism, or minor briberies made to facilitate paperwork?

Again, economic reform can be attained in Jordan, but not in the previously adopted modules that totally dismiss political reformation; the absence of a developed law that enacts separation and balance, and the negligence of legislative and judiciary authorities, only lead to increased corruption, and maybe even drops in growth rates, spreads of frustration, disappointment, and inequality, among many a negative outcome of such shortcoming.