Majority of countries showing little progress in tackling corruption

By on 29/01/2020 | Updated on 24/09/2020
Over 130 countries have failed to make progress on corruption. (Photo courtesy: Vladislav Klapin/Unsplash

Governments are still failing to deal with corruption of political systems by big money, according to an annual study ranking perceived public sector corruption levels of 180 countries worldwide.

The research, carried out by Transparency International, highlights the relationship between politics, money and corruption, with the campaign group urging governments to tackle the links between them.

“Corruption is more pervasive in countries where big money can flow freely into electoral campaigns and where governments listen only to the voices of wealthy or well-connected individuals,” the report says.

Delia Ferreira Rubio, chair of Transparency International, called on governments to urgently address the corrupting role of big money in political party financing and the undue influence it exerts on political systems.

Little progress

The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), which aggregates expert data from 12 independent sources such as the World Bank, World Economic Forum, and the Economist Intelligence Unit, ranks countries with a score of zero (most corrupt) to 100 (clean).

This year’s rankings revealed that the majority of countries are showing little progress at tackling corruption, with 137 showing little or no change compared to previous years. In line with 2018 scores, more than two thirds of countries scored lower than 50, with an overall average score of 43.

Twenty-two countries have significantly improved their CPI scores over the past eight years with Greece, Guyana and Estonia showing the biggest increases. At the other end of the scale, Canada, Australia and Nicaragua showed the largest decreases.

The number of countries where corruption levels are declining significantly is growing, with 16 countries in the 2018 index compared to 21 countries in this latest research.

One to watch

The report highlighted Canada as a country to watch due to a decline of four points since last year and seven points since 2012. While Canada is consistently a top performer with a score of 77, the campaign group say low enforcement of anti-corruption laws is evident for example, the recent case against construction company Montreal-based SNC-Lavalin, which allegedly paid US$48m (€44m) in bribes to Libyan officials.

Canada’s attorney-general, Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned in 2019, alleging that people within the prime minister’s office had pressured her to offer a ‘deferred prosecution agreement’ to the mining company.

The same countries as last year topped and tailed the report, with New Zealand and Denmark on a joint score of 87 and Somalia, South Sudan and Syria down at the bottom on nine, 12 and 13 respectively.

Overall, Western Europe and the EU was the region with the highest average score of 66, while Sub-Saharan Africa had the lowest average score of 32.

Patricia Moreira, managing director of Transparency International said: “To have any chance of ending corruption and improving peoples’ lives, we must tackle the relationship between politics and big money. All citizens must be represented in decision-making.”

About Natalie Leal

Natalie is a freelance journalist whose work has been published by The Sun Online, The Guardian, Novara Media, Positive News, and Welfare Weekly, among others. She also writes reports and case studies on global business trends for behavioural insights agency, Canvas8. Prior to working as a journalist Natalie worked for the public sector in social services for several years. She switched careers in 2013 after winning a fully funded NCTJ in a national writing competition. She holds a Masters degree in social anthropology from Sussex University where she specialised in processes of social change and international conflict and reconciliation processes.

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