(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Conflicts and bloated bureaucracies may be dragging down countries on the corruption scale, but the UAE has bucked the trend to become the least corrupt country in the region with a clean and effective public sector. The country's focus on providing government services round-the-clock, and through electronic platforms has helped it climb to 26th spot in Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index this year.
The UAE scored 69 points, an increase of one point from last year to pip Qatar as the most clean country for government services in the Middle East. Denmark and New Zealand are the least affected by graft globally, while Somalia comes last on the list.
The organisation said corruption continues to have a devastating impact on societies and individuals around the world, with more than two-thirds of countries surveyed scoring less than 50 out of 100. Countries are scored on a scale from 0 (perceived to be highly corrupt) to 100 (perceived to be very clean).
"The results of the 2013 index serve as a warning that more must be done to enable people to live their lives free from the damaging effects of corruption. Despite 2013 being a year in which governments around the world passed new laws and forged fresh commitments to end corruption, people are not seeing the results of these promises," Transparency said after surveying 177 countries this year.
"It is time to stop those who get away with acts of corruption. The legal loopholes and lack of political will in government facilitate both domestic and cross-border corruption, and call for our intensified efforts to combat the impunity of the corrupt," said Huguette Labelle, Chair, Transparency International.
Of the other GCC countries, Bahrain comes in at 57, Oman at 61, Saudi Arabia at 63, while Kuwait is the lowest at 69.