File - Hundreds of anti-government protesters gather on March 7, 2011 for the ninth successive day in front of the Majlis al Shura in Seeb, near the Omani capital Muscat. (AFP PHOTO/ANP ROBIN UTRECHT)
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Young Omanis who took to the streets in 2011 to demand jobs and better economic prospects failed to trigger the mass protests that transformed other parts of the Arab world in their own Gulf state.While most states in the region fare badly in global corruption perception reports, Transparency International groups Oman among the worst performers, together with Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain.In his first response to the February 2011 protests, Sultan Qaboos replaced ministers and promised to create 50,000 public sector jobs for its increasingly youthful population.Since then the authorities have turned their focus to corruption, strengthening domestic laws by boosting the powers of the state auditor to investigate suspicious cases and referring a number of public officials and private sector executives to the prosecution. If the campaign succeeds, the Oman government hopes to not only win praise at home and abroad but also reassure foreign investors about the rule of law in the country of 3.9 million people.Oman has also not yet signed up to the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, which Transparency International says is a key benchmark in criminalizing the bribery of public officials in international business transactions.
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