Corruption: Where is it in the MENA region? And what to do about it?

Where do we see corruption being most common in the MENA region? Which countries are most affected? What types of activities and  sectors? And most importantly, what might be the breeding corruption in the region?

These questions posed by Jeffrey Nugent (University of Southern California and ERF) during his presentation in the  second plenary session of the ERF’s 18th Annual Conference. After the session, we had the opportunity to sit with Prof. Nugent and record a short video interview with him.

He specifically refers to the situation in Egypt, which is “not one of the better performers” as there seems to be a “fair amount of corruption” in the country. The main issues in this sense appear to be connected to firms, and the problems that firms have with tax administrations and customs.

So what activities can be identified to limit corruption?

According to Prof. Nugent, it is important to simplify the rules, so there is less room for discretion by officials in deciding which tax rate or custom duty should be applied in each specific case.

He concludes with few suggestions for further research and the role that ERF can play in facilitating a better understanding of the issue. In particular, he underlines the need for country-specific research that focuses, for example, on monitoring corruption with audits and identifying which incentives might work best.

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