Corruption in Iraq is unlike other countries as it has developed into an integrated system that has led the country into a tragic social and economic situation. The Iraqi people, living on a wealthy land and floating on a sea of oil, has become one of the world’s poorest.
For years, Iraqis have struggled to eradicate corruption. However, their demands have not been met by the decision-makers. Thus, Iraqis were left with no options but to revolt against the authorities to end an era that exhausted the country’s economy and dragged them into the unknown
Iraq has been witnessing violent protests since last Tuesday, which began from the capital Baghdad in demand of better public services, employment and putting an end to corruption. Later, the demonstrations gradually spread in the southern and central governorates of the country.
The demonstrators raised their demands and called for the resignation of Prime Minister, Adil Abdul Mahdi after the security forces killed 100 people while suppressing protestors.
During the past years, the escalating rates of corruption in Iraq have remained the focus of international institutions, as well as local and regional organisations.
Last year, Iraq ranked 168th out of 180 countries mentioned in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI).
The CPI classifies countries and regions based on their public sector corruption rates.
A report by Transparency International described Iraq as an undemocratic country and referred to widespread political, economic and administrative corruption within its various institutions.
According to the same report, Iraq is among the five most corrupt countries in the Middle East, along with Libya, Sudan, Yemen and Syria.
Transparency International reports indicated that the amount of money looted in the post-Saddam era amounted to $ 300 billion.
Local Iraqi media reported that about $ 350 billion was wasted between 2003-2014 on fake projects and financial and administrative corruption in the country.
In addition to Transparency International’s classification, the World Bank has classified Iraq as the second most corrupted country in the world. Hence, other ratings ranked Iraq as one of the worst countries worldwide in terms of business and vulnerable investment environment due to numerous legal and legislative problems, in addition to the fragility of the security situation.
Livelihood crises and an exhausted economy
The increasing scale of corruption in Iraq has resulted in successive livelihood and economic crises for Iraqi citizens. It has damaged the country’s economy.
Iraqis are experiencing severe social crises since they are suffering from high rates of unemployment, extreme poverty and poor public services.
Officially announced unemployment rates in Iraq reached 16 per cent this year, up from 14 per cent in 2018. However, unofficial statistics indicate that unemployment rates have reached nearly 40 per cent.
According to the International Monetary Fund, (IMF) data, unemployment rates in Iraq have attained more than 40 per cent in 2018, which means that 14.8 million Iraqis are jobless.
Poverty rates reached 22.5 per cent in 2019.
World Bank statistics indicated that poverty rates were estimated by 41.2 per cent in areas liberated from Daesh. Thirty per cent in the southern regions, 23 per cent in the central governorates, and 12.5 per cent in the Kurdistan region.
The World Bank also reported that 50 per cent of children are needy in Iraq’s southern governorates
Source: Middle East Monitor, October 8, 2019