Ideals without Illusions: Corruption and the Future of a Democratic North Africa

Sorensen, Juliet | January 1, 2012

In the Arab Spring of 2011, corruption was high on the list of grievances presented by protesters, and rightfully so: countries in the Middle East and North Africa region have been dogged by corruption for years. Concerns about the quality of governance, including the protection of rights, the rule of law and corruption have long been voiced in tandem with calls for democracy. While the absence of corruption alone does not engender democracy, true democracy cannot exist where corruption thrives. This article analyzes the progress that three countries affected by the Arab SpringEgypt, Tunisia, and Moroccohave made toward democracy over the course of the last year as well as instances where corruption has hindered that progress. The author then discusses two examples of democracies that have successfully struggled against corruptionBotswana and Hong Kong.