In this interview, Lamia Matta discusses the challenges of doing business in the Middle East and the perception that it is a corrupt region in which to operate. According to Matta, the 2014 Transparency Corruption Index reflects a region where corruption exists but in moderate numbers. "You would be surprised by the corruption perception index ratings of countries in the Middle East. It's true that in the bottom ten ranked countries, four of them -- Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Libya -- are in the Middle East," she said. "Those four countries are seized in violent conflicts. But in those countries where the political situation is calmer, the numbers are in the middle. I was surprised by it.
"In the Middle East, especially in the Gulf, you have a raised sensitivity to this perception that it's very corrupt. There is a real interest in bringing in foreign companies. They are not these closed economies that they used to be." Matta said, describing the environment in which Western companies now operate in the Middle East. "That changes the way American companies approach it. And there is a real change in the way countries in the Gulf approach doing business."