December 4, 2014

2014 Corruption Index “Paints An Alarming Picture”

By Marlene Koury

Transparency International (“TI”) just released its annual Corruption Perceptions Index which “paints an alarming picture” of worldwide corruption. The index measures the perceived levels of public sector corruption in 177 countries and ranks them on a scale of 0 to 100. A score of 100 signifies that the country is “very clean” and a score of 0 signifies that the country is “highly corrupt.” A poor score “is likely a sign of widespread bribery, lack of punishment for corruption and public institutions that don’t respond to citizens’ needs.” Not one country got a perfect score – and more than two-thirds of countries got a terrible score.

By region, Eastern Europe & Central Asia has the highest overall perception of corruption with 95% of its countries scoring below 50, followed by Sub-Saharan Africa (92% below 50), the Middle East & North Africa (84% below 50), the Americas (68% below 50), and Asia Pacific (64% below 50). The region with the lowest overall perception of corruption is the EU & Western Europe (16% below 50).

By country, the top and bottom places on the list were the same as last year. The countries that came out the cleanest were Denmark and New Zealand, which scored first and second place with scores of 92 and 91. The most corrupt countries were North Korea, and Somalia, which tied for last place with scores of 8. Those countries that have improved the most over last year are Afghanistan, Côte d´Ivoire, Egypt, Jordan, Mali, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Swaziland. The countries that took the biggest tumble in rankings are Angola, China, Malawi, Rwanda, and Turkey. As for the United States, it did not fare as well as we would have hoped, coming in 17th on the list (tied with Ireland, Barbados, and Hong Kong) with a score of 74 – up one point from last year. Not highly corrupt, but a score that leaves plenty of room for improvement.

TI says corruption is a problem for all countries, even those who scored highly. TI says higher scoring countries “need to act” and “leading financial centers in the EU and US need to join with fast-growing economies to stop the corrupt from getting away with it.” TI urges the “G20…to prove its global leadership role and prevent money laundering and stop secret companies from masking corruption.”

Transparency International stated plainly that these 2014 findings indicate “a serious corruption problem” across the globe. In releasing the Index, it hopes to shine a light on corruption worldwide in order to put an end to corrupt deeds and deals, encouraging bribe-free services, justice, economic development, and leaders who answer to the public, rather than to their powerful friends.

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