Monday, November 23, 2009

Egypt continues low transparency standing globally

Bikya Masr Staff
22 November 2009 in Egypt

CAIRO: Egypt was ranked at number 111 on the International Index for Transparency and Integrity in the world, among 180 countries in the annual report of the Integrity and Transparency Organization. Egypt was equal to both Algeria and Djibouti in the report, while 8 other Arab nations preceded the North African country on the list, highlighting the rise in a lack of transparency in the country in recent years.

The report stressed that Egypt is seen as a country that continues to suffer from a “high degree of corruption, although the Egyptian government announced its fight against corruption in an open manner” and the report considered corruption a major “impediment” to development efforts.

“It is not surprising to see Egypt this low, because we all know after watching how things run in this country, that there are major problems that need to be addressed. Corruption is one of these issues that the government simply hasn’t done enough in recent years,” said security analyst Paul Jones, an American-based Middle East expert.

The report added that experts from the International Transparency Organization, agreed that corruption in Egypt is widespread and that favoritism and nepotism have become necessary for the completion of any interests of the people. It criticized the restrictions imposed by the Egyptian government on the free flow of information and the fact there are no laws that force officials to disclose their property or sources of wealth.

The report explained that civil society organizations in Egypt have tried in the recent years to organize campaigns against corruption, but it has not succeeded because the government continues to impose the emergency law.

“We need to get rid of those people who continue to use corrupt means to get power,” began leading activist George Ishaq. “Until there is a unified effort to create a better society based on what people do instead of who they know, this country will continue to be far behind others in terms of our future,” he added.

For his part, Munir Fakhri, a member of the Committee for Transparency and Integrity in the Ministry of Administrative Development, told local newspaper al-Dustour that Egypt’s delayed report on transparency was due to the “absence of real democracy that allows control accountability and punishment.”

Fakhri added that the committee for transparency, chaired by Minister Ahmed Darwish, is an advisory committee and has no executive authority and is not entitled to adopt policy decisions. He said its role is “limited to monitoring and submitting reports and proposals.”