Corruption is a broad term that has started to represent so many different informal linkages entertained by public officials that it becomes very hard to identify potential solutions without disentangling its different facets.
This study identifies the main current vulnerabilities of local and regional authorities (LRAs) in Southern Mediterranean countries regarding public procurement and public services, and provides a systematic assessment of priority avenues of intervention. In a context of a moderately low institutional capacity, and of a yet incipient process of decentralisation, corruption can severely impede the delivering good quality public goods and services at subnational level.
Key findings suggest that the main concern with regards to corruption at subnational level in the region is that of favouritism in public procurement procedures; various public contracts and concessions are granted to politically connected contractors. The only country where this does not seem to be a major concern is Jordan.
The second main concern is nepotism in public appointments. Both forms of corruption create distrust amongst citizens, and decrease the quality of public goods and services provided.
Across countries, we found that experts’ assessment place political will to counter corruption to be much higher at central than local government level, as is the institutional capacity to do so. However, two countries deviate from this trend, in both Tunisia and Turkey there seems to be significant bottom-up pressures to countering corruption. In Tunisia, the main drivers seem to be the branches of civil society groups that are active at community level, while in Turkey local and regional authorities seem to be more involved in anticorruption actions than the central government.