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Oil and Energy Sectors Vulnerable to Corruption in North Africa

The North Africa Journal | Corruption in North Africa is a widespread and is a deeply rooted problem. So much so that the activists that are driving the revolts in the Arab world say many of ills that have been crippling economic, social and political progress originate from corruption. While corrupt acts such as paying bribery are widespread in administrations and bureaucracies, the business sector is particularly affected by corrupt practices as well.
And while efforts are underway to reduce the impact of corruption, there is a strong possibly of a status-quo, if the conservative forces prevail. Cases of corruption abound, most evolve with impunity, enabling many people to grow and thrivee economically. Few cases end up in the front pages of newspapers, partly as a result of political fights within regimes that use corruption cases to undermine their political competitors. Because of the amounts of money involved, the energy sector is particularly vulnerable to white collar criminal predators.

In Algeria for example, state-owned oil giant Sonatrach is slowly recovering from a scandal that has crippled the company’s management. Problems of bribery payments and payments for favors have affected the higher echelon of the company. Still, many Analysts point to the scandal as having been engineered by a faction in the regime that has been seeking to undermine competing interests. This is as dirty politics as it can be. The latest development in this affair was this month’s jail sentences announced against former CEOs, sentences considered rather lenient by many observers.

In Egypt, the situation is not better as its the natural gas sector, its biggest natural resource for power is being threatened by corruption, according to watchdogs. Tranparency International says the corruption taint in Egypt is so bad that it could slow the build up of its clean power generation capacity more
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