In our Friday roundup last week we made mention of Transparency International’s (TI) latest Corruption Perception Index. This is a yearly report produced by capturing the views of analysts, businesses and experts within each country. TI is a non-governmental “civil society” organization with a mission to fight corruption and campaign for openness in government. In this report, it aims to score countries on how corrupt their public sectors are seen to be. Its Corruption Perception Index sends a powerful message and at times governments have been forced to take notice and act on its findings.TI has been widely credited with getting the issue of corruption higher up the international policy agenda.
This year’s results show that more than 6 billion people live in countries with a serious corruption problem. The scale of the issue is huge, and its findings are quite startling when seen in aggregate: “68% of countries worldwide have a serious corruption problem, half of the G20 are among them. Not one single country, anywhere in the world, is corruption-free.” And TI can put numbers against the dollars lost to corruption, for example, PETROBRAS, Brazil’s state-controlled oil giant accounts for US$2 billion in reported bribes, kickbacks and money laundering, with tens of thousands of jobs lost.
Poor countries lose US$1 trillion a year to corruption, it finds, and there is a correlation between poorer countries and corruption, and a correlation between conflict and corruption. 5 out of 10 of the most corrupt countries also rank among the 10 least peaceful places. What the TI website does, is go behind the numbers. It gives some real examples of the people who suffer from corruption.
Here is its snapshot of the results:
“Some countries have improved in recent years – Greece, Senegal and the UK are among those that have seen a significant increase in scores since 2012. Others, including Australia, Brazil, Libya, Spain and Turkey, have deteriorated. Northern Europe emerges well in the index – it’s home to four of the top five countries: Denmark, Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Norway.” But – it warns – “just because a country has a clean public sector at home, doesn’t mean it isn’t linked to corruption elsewhere.”
Right at the bottom of the table are Afghanistan and North Korea, scoring 8 out of 100 on the corruption index scale. Some key comments include:
“Between Australia’s slipping scores and North Korea’s predictably disastrous performance, this year’s index shows no significant improvement — Has Asia Pacific stalled in its efforts to fight corruption?” (That is Srirak Plipat, TI’s Director for the Asia Pacific region).
“While a handful of countries in Europe and Central Asia have improved, the general picture across this vast region is one of stagnation — Also very worrying is the marked deterioration in countries like Hungary, FYR of Macedonia, Spain and Turkey where we’re seeing corruption grow…” – Anne Koch, Director for Europe and Central Asia.
The site goes on to give more examples of the human cost of corruption. Do go and visit the table to see how individual countries have performed over the past few years, including your own, and do take a look at the rest of the website.