Skip to main content

Sharaka: Corruption in the Middle East

Photo: Mostapha Raad

What's at stake?

Corruption in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is an endemic problem that continues to have a highly corrosive effect on the economic and social development of the region, its citizens and its institutions. TI has identified two major drivers that exacerbate corruption in the MENA region: weak public sector integrity, transparency and accountability, and a limited space of civil society, media and weak engagement of people in anti-corruption. In such context, empowering ordinary citizens to hold their governments accountable and enabling civil society organizations to fully assume their role as watchdogs is an urgent and critical aspect in the fight against corruption.

What we're doing about it

TI’s National Chapters in the MENA region have identified social accountability as a key regional priority for 2017-2020. The project aims to enable civil society’s participation in state budget preparation, implementation and monitoring of public funds. Through the work of the four implementing chapters (Morocco, Tunisia, Jordan and Lebanon) the TI Secretariat and the support of TI Palestine, the project promotes legislative and policy reforms in budget transparency, procurement, access to information, and whistleblower protection, and strengthens citizens’ engagement, encouraging the use of accountability mechanisms, and empowering them to report on cases of corruption in the public and private sectors

Our approach

For budget transparency, the chapter formed a series of coalitions of CSOs to train and support so that they may interface regularly with the state-budget entities and provide feedback and recommendations on the various budgeting cycles. The CSOs also promoted improvements and amendments to the legal framework of the four countries, to bring laws such as Access to Information and Whistleblower Protection up to international standards. For citizen engagement, the chapter produced a wide array of toolkits to help citizens understand what they can do to report corruption (identify it, recognize it, denounce it, engage other citizens) through the work of the Advocacy and Legal Advice Centers. The ALACs also produced several campaigns to raise the general awareness of the adverse effects of corruption and lack of transparency on society.