Julien Courson - Executive Director, Lebanese Transparency Association
This blog is part of our series, Tracking the Trillions, which takes a closer look at how the International Monetary Fund (IMF) can tackle corruption, while promoting transparency and accountability.
The shock and horror at the devastation and loss of life caused by the explosion in Beirut has turned to anger as the facts of the disaster have emerged. No more so than in Lebanon itself where people – exasperated by political failures, economic collapse and endemic corruption – have taken to the streets to protest government corruption and demand justice.
Even before these terrible events spotlighted the role of corruption in undermined the institutions of state, the judiciary and politics, Lebanese people experienced corruption daily and recognised it as a major barrier to the country’s future development.
In Transparency International’s 2019 Global Corruption Barometer for the Middle East and North Africa, Lebanese people reported the highest perceptions and experiences of corruption of all the countries assessed. Eighty-nine per cent of people reported corruption in government as a big problem.
Equally damning, 68 per cent of people thought that most or all government officials are involved in corruption. This might explain why Lebanon scored a very poor 28/100 in the 2019 Corruption Perceptions Index, which measures public sector corruption.