The whole thing about bribery and comparing it with other countries is a ticky business. Where is the benchmark? How do you compare like for like, especially when you are looking at a country venturing into new markets? Transparency International have released their latest report entitled the Bribe Payers Index 2006 which attempts to do just that amongst a select number of countries. The BPI looks at the propensity of companies from 30 leading exporting countries to bribe abroad. Companies from the wealthiest countries generally rank in the top half of the Index, but still routinely pay bribes, particularly in developing economies. Companies from emerging export powers India, China and Russia rank among the worst. In the case of China and other emerging export powers, efforts to strengthen domestic anti-corruption activities have failed to extend abroad.
The index determined clusters from least likely to bribe to most likely. These are the results:
Cluster 1: Switzerland, Sweden, Australia, Austria, Canada, UK, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, US, Japan
Cluster 2: Singapore, Spain, United Arab Emirates, France, Portugal, Mexico
Cluster 3: Hong Kong, Israel, Italy, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, South Africa, Malaysia
Cluster 4: Taiwan, Turkey, Russia, China, India.
Ignore what you think you know of corruption within the UAE. Look at the UAE going overseas. In my understanding the UAE has behaved impecably whether you are looking at JVs, overseas investment or pure aquisitions. In fact, the UAE fares as a cluster 1 country when veturing in OECD activity. And that is crucial if the powerhouses of Dubai and Abu Dhabi wish to continue their strategy of investing in high profile ventures overseas, as they have been doing over the last couple of years.
However you wish to take the results, it is worth remembering that Transparency International's work is recognised worldwide. For essentially a developing country, the UAE can be proud for what it is achiving. Reputation for honesty goes a long way in the politically correct business world of today.
See the full Bribe Payers Index (BPI) 2006 Analysis Report at Transpaency International's site.