Corruption cost Arabs $1 trillion: report – Losses accounted for nearly a third of the total income earned by the Arab countries between 1950 and 2000:- Persistent corruption and other financial malpractices have cost Arab countries nearly $1trillion, which otherwise could have largely boosted the per capita income of citizens, according to a regional anti-corruption group.
On the other hand, Africa lost $854 billion in illicit financial outflows from 1970 through 2008, according to a new new report to be released today from Global Financial Integrity (GFI).
Total illicit outflows from Africa may be as high as $1.8 trillion; Sub-Saharan African countries experienced the bulk of illicit financial outflows with the West and Central African region posting the largest outflow numbers;
The top five countries with the highest outflow measured were: Nigeria ($89.5 billion) Egypt ($70.5 billion), Algeria ($25.7 billion), Morocco ($25 billion), and South Africa ($24.9 billion);
This mind-numbing figure comes amidst a report, released last week at the London School of Economics which shows that uncovering corruption can improve public service, according to a new survey conducted in developing economies.
According to Emirates Buisness, The losses accounted for nearly a third of the total income earned by the Arab countries between 1950 and 2000, said the Arab Anti-Corruption Organization (AACO), an independent civil institution with offices in Britain and Lebanon.
AACO made the estimates at a rare anti-corruption conference held in Cairo this week under the title “Towards a strategy to combat corruption in the region.”
“The Majority of Arab countries are suffering from corruption and other financial offences, which have created a weak state unable to tackle problems,” AACO Secretary General Amer Khayyat told the conference.
“Corruption has cost the Arab countries $1trillion…these funds could have increased the citizen’s income by nearly $200 a year, supported anti-poverty efforts and allowed the region to achieve self-sufficiency in food and water.”
Quoted by Arabic language newspapers in the region, Khyyat put the combined Arab income from oil sales and other exports at nearly $ three trillion during 1950-2000. Around $one trillion has been spent on development projects.
“About $1trillion has been spent on arms purchases and the rest has been lost illegally because of widespread corruption and other financial offences.”
Khayyat said several financial institutions and sovereign wealth funds in the region, some of which are among the richest in the world, “are not subject to auditing or any other sort of accountability except the Kuwaiti fund.”
Another speaker at the two-day conference said corruption in the Arab region is prevailing in both the public and private sectors.
“Corruption has become a serious phenomenon that is threatening the citizens’ life, freedom and dignity… it is also weakening their allegiance to the nation and increasing the state of frustration and despair among them,” said Rifaat Faoury, Secretary General of the Arab Organization for Administrative Development.
“Corruption is pervading both the public and private sectors… there should be efforts to support the auditing and transparency systems in the Arab countries and to remove all political hurdles that are preventing non-government parties from participating in anti-corruption action… we also call upon all regional governments to devise clear national strategies to fight this phenomenon.”
In another development a report, released last week at the London School of Economics shows that uncovering corruption can improve public service, according to a new survey conducted in developing economies. The report documents 19 independent case studies conducted by groups between 2006 to 2008, in 13 countries: Kenya, Guatemala, Paraguay, Ghana, India, Peru, Argentina, Russia, Romania, Albania, Moldova, Poland and Indonesia.
“The research forced public officials to improve education and healthcare services,” a report by Results for Development Institute (R4D), a Washington-based group that promotes good governance around the world said last week.
The report, “From the Ground Up,” published by the Brookings Institution Press, documents a growing phenomenon of watchdog groups in developing countries examining key issues in government performance — a role that has long been delegated to Western institutions and outside consultants.
Analysts said after the report was published, indigenous groups have the potential to do a better job than outsiders, and cost far less.
“What these organisations are showing is that there are people who know the context better, know the schools, know the health system, and with a little outside help, they can go in and cause change to happen,” said Courtney Tolmie, a co-author of the report and a Senior Program Officer at R4D.
Mismanagement and corruption in young democracies has been a source of great concern among donors, governments, and citizens.
Surveys have shown that in many countries more than half the people have directly experienced instances of corruption — from local policemen demanding bribes to their family doctor asking for additional fees.
A Transparency International report this year found that endemic corruption in some schools in Africa was denying many children primary school education.