More than 6 Billion People Live in Countries with a Serious Corruption Problem


27 January 2016  – More than 6 billion people live in countries with a serious corruption problem.
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© AM Ahad | Source: Transparency International

This nine-year-old girl is one of them.

She lives in Dhaka, Bangladesh – one of 114 countries that scores below 50 out of 100 in our 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index, indicating serious levels of public sector corruption.

Instead of going to school, she spends her days sorting bottles at a recycling factory.

Officially child labour is illegal in Bangladesh. Unofficially a bribe paid to the right official can mean exceptions are made.

Like all exploitation, child labour remains a sad reality in environments where citizens are trapped in poverty and corrupt officials can be paid off.

It’s just one example of the devastation fuelled by corruption. Others include human trafficking, child mortality, poor education standards, environmental destruction and terrorism.

Put simply – public sector corruption is about so much more than missing money. It’s about people’s lives. And as the map below shows, it’s a global problem.

 

 
Click country to view score and rank Download Excel data Download json data

Based on expert opinion, the Corruption Perceptions Index measures the perceived levels of public sector corruption worldwide.

Dark red indicates a highly corrupt public sector. Lighter red and orange countries fare a bit better, but corruption among public institutions and employees is still common. Yellow countries are perceived as cleaner, but not perfect.

The scale of the issue is huge. Sixty-eight per cent 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.

Poor countries lose US$1 trillion a year to corruption. It’s time for justice

© Giles Clarke. Three men live and work on a massive waste dump just miles outside the capital of Haiti – tied with Venezuela as the Americas’ lowest scorer. Around 2,000 other people make up the ‘dump community’ who live in dirt and smoke 24 hours a day without running water. They all want to work elsewhere but can’t find employment.

The 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index clearly shows that corruption remains a blight around the world. But 2015 was also a year when people again took to the streets to protest corruption. People across the globe sent a strong signal to those in power: it is time to tackle grand corruption. José Ugaz,
Chair, Transparency International

 

Which countries improved? Which got worse?

2015 showed that people working together can succeed in fighting corruption. Although corruption is still rife globally, more countries improved their scores in 2015 than declined.

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.

Dealing with many entrenched corruption issues, Brazil has been rocked by the Petrobras scandal, in which politicians are reported to have taken kickbacks in exchange for awarding public contracts.

As the economy crunches, tens of thousands of ordinary Brazilians have lost their jobs already. They didn’t make the decisions that led to the scandal. But they’re the ones living with the consequences.

PETROBRAS

Brazil’s state-controlled oil giant
  • US$2 billion in reported bribes, kickbacks and money laundering
  • Tens of thousands of jobs lost
  • Over a million people protest on the streets

 

CORRUPTION AND CONFLICT
GO HAND IN HAND

© Xinhua/Pan Chaoyue. In Syria, as in other countries, deep corruption has helped
finance violent extremist groups and provide them with a powerful narrative for recruitment. Vast quantities of weapons have been sold in the region primarily by Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States often with little oversight.

Lowest scorers characterised by bloody and entrenched conflict

Five of the 10 most corrupt countries also rank among the 10 least peaceful places in the world.

In Afghanistan, millions of dollars that should have gone on reconstruction have been reportedly wasted or stolen, seriously undermining efforts to sustain peace.

Even where there’s not open conflict, the levels of inequality and poverty in these countries are devastating.

In Angola, 70 per cent of the population live on US$2 a day or less. One in six children die before the age of five – making it the deadliest place in the world to be a child. More than 150,000 children die each year. But not everyone’s suffering.

Dubbed Africa’s youngest billionaire, Isabel dos Santos made her US$3.4 billion fortune from the national diamond and telecommunications business. She’s also the president’s daughter.

ISABEL DOS SANTOS

Daughter of Angola’s President
  • Africa’s youngest billionaire, worth US$3.4 billion
  • Angola has the world’s highest child mortality rate

ARE HIGH SCORING COUNTRIES
EXPORTING CORRUPTION OVERSEAS?

© David Rengel. An activist in Cambodia stands on piles of wood that once formed the forest she grew up in. She says the government evicted her village to make way for foreign companies who want to use the area to grow sugarcane and rubber. She’s now fighting to regain the land.

Many “clean” countries have dodgy records overseas

Northern Europe emerges well in the index – it’s home to four of the top five countries.

But just because a country has a clean public sector at home, doesn’t mean it isn’t linked to corruption elsewhere.

Take Sweden for instance. It comes third in the index, yet the Swedish-Finnish firm TeliaSonera – 37 per cent owned by the Swedish state – is facing allegations that it paid millions of dollars in bribes to secure business in Uzbekistan, which comes in at 153rd in the index.

The company is now pulling out of business in Central Asia, but Sweden isn’t the only “clean” country to be linked to dodgy behaviour overseas. As our research shows, half of all OECD countries are violating their international obligations to crack down on bribery by their companies abroad.

 

Table of results: Corruption Perceptions Index 2015

 

A country or territory’s score indicates the perceived level of public sector corruption on a scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). A country’s rank indicates its position relative to the other countries in the index. This year’s index includes 168 countries and territories.

Click on the column headings to sort the results, or use the search to view the results for one country. Note that N/A means a country was not included in the index during a particular year.

To learn more about the results and view the confidence intervals, please see our FAQs and download an XLS or JSON of the results.

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Rank Country/territory 2015 Score 2014 Score 2013 Score 2012 Score
1 Denmark 91 92 91 90
2 Finland 90 89 89 90
3 Sweden 89 87 89 88
4 New Zealand 88 91 91 90
5 Netherlands 87 83 83 84
5 Norway 87 86 86 85
7 Switzerland 86 86 85 86
8 Singapore 85 84 86 87
9 Canada 83 81 81 84
10 Germany 81 79 78 79
10 Luxembourg 81 82 80 80
10 United Kingdom 81 78 76 74
13 Australia 79 80 81 85
13 Iceland 79 79 78 82
15 Belgium 77 76 75 75
16 Austria 76 72 69 69
16 United States 76 74 73 73
18 Hong Kong 75 74 75 77
18 Ireland 75 74 72 69
18 Japan 75 76 74 74
21 Uruguay 74 73 73 72
22 Qatar 71 69 68 68
23 Chile 70 73 71 72
23 Estonia 70 69 68 64
23 France 70 69 71 71
23 United Arab Emirates 70 70 69 68
27 Bhutan 65 65 63 63
28 Botswana 63 63 64 65
28 Portugal 63 63 62 63
30 Poland 62 61 60 58
30 Taiwan 62 61 61 61
32 Cyprus 61 63 63 66
32 Israel 61 60 61 60
32 Lithuania 61 58 57 54
35 Slovenia 60 58 57 61
36 Spain 58 60 59 65
37 Czech Republic 56 51 48 49
37 Korea (South) 56 55 55 56
37 Malta 56 55 56 57
40 Cape Verde 55 57 58 60
40 Costa Rica 55 54 53 54
40 Latvia 55 55 53 49
40 Seychelles 55 55 54 52
44 Rwanda 54 49 53 53
45 Jordan 53 49 45 48
45 Mauritius 53 54 52 57
45 Namibia 53 49 48 48
48 Georgia 52 52 49 52
48 Saudi Arabia 52 49 46 44
50 Bahrain 51 49 48 51
50 Croatia 51 48 48 46
50 Hungary 51 54 54 55
50 Slovakia 51 50 47 46
54 Malaysia 50 52 50 49
55 Kuwait 49 44 43 44
56 Cuba 47 46 46 48
56 Ghana 47 48 46 45
58 Greece 46 43 40 36
58 Romania 46 43 43 44
60 Oman 45 45 47 47
61 Italy 44 43 43 42
61 Lesotho 44 49 49 45
61 Montenegro 44 42 44 41
61 Senegal 44 43 41 36
61 South Africa 44 44 42 43
66 Sao Tome and Principe 42 42 42 42
66 The FYR of Macedonia 42 45 44 43
66 Turkey 42 45 50 49
69 Bulgaria 41 43 41 41
69 Jamaica 41 38 38 38
71 Serbia 40 41 42 39
72 El Salvador 39 39 38 38
72 Mongolia 39 39 38 36
72 Panama 39 37 35 38
72 Trinidad and Tobago 39 38 38 39
76 Bosnia and Herzegovina 38 39 42 42
76 Brazil 38 43 42 43
76 Burkina Faso 38 38 38 38
76 India 38 38 36 36
76 Thailand 38 38 35 37
76 Tunisia 38 40 41 41
76 Zambia 38 38 38 37
83 Benin 37 39 36 36
83 China 37 36 40 39
83 Colombia 37 37 36 36
83 Liberia 37 37 38 41
83 Sri Lanka 37 38 37 40
88 Albania 36 33 31 33
88 Algeria 36 36 36 34
88 Egypt 36 37 32 32
88 Indonesia 36 34 32 32
88 Morocco 36 39 37 37
88 Peru 36 38 38 38
88 Suriname 36 36 36 37
95 Armenia 35 37 36 34
95 Mali 35 32 28 34
95 Mexico 35 35 34 34
95 Philippines 35 38 36 34
99 Bolivia 34 35 34 34
99 Djibouti 34 34 36 36
99 Gabon 34 37 34 35
99 Niger 34 35 34 33
103 Dominican Republic 33 32 29 32
103 Ethiopia 33 33 33 33
103 Kosovo 33 33 33 34
103 Moldova 33 35 35 36
107 Argentina 32 34 34 35
107 Belarus 32 31 29 31
107 Cote d’Ivoire 32 32 27 29
107 Ecuador 32 33 35 32
107 Togo 32 29 29 30
112 Honduras 31 29 26 28
112 Malawi 31 33 37 37
112 Mauritania 31 30 30 31
112 Mozambique 31 31 30 31
112 Vietnam 31 31 31 31
117 Pakistan 30 29 28 27
117 Tanzania 30 31 33 35
119 Azerbaijan 29 29 28 27
119 Guyana 29 30 27 28
119 Russia 29 27 28 28
119 Sierra Leone 29 31 30 31
123 Gambia 28 29 28 34
123 Guatemala 28 32 29 33
123 Kazakhstan 28 29 26 28
123 Kyrgyzstan 28 27 24 24
123 Lebanon 28 27 28 30
123 Madagascar 28 28 28 32
123 Timor-Leste 28 28 30 33
130 Cameroon 27 27 25 26
130 Iran 27 27 25 28
130 Nepal 27 29 31 27
130 Nicaragua 27 28 28 29
130 Paraguay 27 24 24 25
130 Ukraine 27 26 25 26
136 Comoros 26 26 28 28
136 Nigeria 26 27 25 27
136 Tajikistan 26 23 22 22
139 Bangladesh 25 25 27 26
139 Guinea 25 25 24 24
139 Kenya 25 25 27 27
139 Laos 25 25 26 21
139 Papua New Guinea 25 25 25 25
139 Uganda 25 26 26 29
145 Central African Republic 24 24 25 26
146 Congo Republic 23 23 22 26
147 Chad 22 22 19 19
147 Democratic Republic of the Congo 22 22 22 21
147 Myanmar 22 21 21 15
150 Burundi 21 20 21 19
150 Cambodia 21 21 20 22
150 Zimbabwe 21 21 21 20
153 Uzbekistan 19 18 17 17
154 Eritrea 18 18 20 25
154 Syria 18 20 17 26
154 Turkmenistan 18 17 17 17
154 Yemen 18 19 18 23
158 Haiti 17 19 19 19
158 Guinea-Bissau 17 19 19 25
158 Venezuela 17 19 20 19
161 Iraq 16 16 16 18
161 Libya 16 18 15 21
163 Angola 15 19 23 22
163 South Sudan 15 15 14 N/A
165 Sudan 12 11 11 13
166 Afghanistan 11 12 8 8
167 Korea (North) 8 8 8 8
167 Somalia 8 8 8 8

Corruption can be beaten if we work together. To stamp out the abuse of power, bribery and shed light on secret deals, citizens must together tell their governments they have had enough. José Ugaz,
Chair, Transparency International

Corruption breakdown by region

By looking at the regions, certain trends emerge:

“We’ve witnessed two remarkable trends in the Americas in 2015: the uncovering of grand corruption networks and the mass mobilisation of citizens against corruption,” says Alejandro Salas, Transparency International Director for the Americas. “The Petrobras and La Línea scandals are testament to these trends in the two biggest regional decliners: Brazil and Guatemala. The challenge now is to tackle the underlying causes and reduce impunity for corruption.”

 

© Mauro Pimentel. Protesters attempt to set fire to the Rio de Janeiro’s Legislative Assembly during the first night of 2013 corruption protests known as the “June Days”. In 2015 the city saw more massive public demonstrations, as the Petrobras scandal unfolded into Brazil’s largest ever corruption scandal.

 

“Between Australia’s slipping scores and North Korea’s predictably disastrous performance, this year’s index shows no significant improvement,” notes Srirak Plipat, Director for Asia Pacific.

“Has Asia Pacific stalled in its efforts to fight corruption? This year’s poor results demand that leaders revisit the genuineness of their efforts and propel the region forward with actionable measures.”

“While a handful of countries in Europe and Central Asia have improved, the general picture across this vast region is one of stagnation,” warns Anne Koch, Director for Europe and Central Asia.

“Also very worrying is the marked deterioration in countries like Hungary, FYR of Macedonia, Spain and Turkey where we’re seeing corruption grow, while civil society space and democracy shrink. Corruption won’t be tackled until laws and regulations are put into action and civil society and the media are genuinely free.”

VIKTOR YANUKOVYCH

Former president of Ukraine
  • Lived in multi-million-dollar villa
  • Millions in state assets ended up in private hands
  • Fled to Russia before charged with embezzlement

© Mehman Huseynov. Police arrest a demonstrator at an opposition rally in Baku, Azerbaijan in 2012. It’s one of many low-scoring countries in the region in which civil society and free speech continue to face a vicious crackdown.

 

“Once again, 3 of the bottom 10 countries are from the Middle East and North Africa region – Iraq, Libya and Sudan. The ongoing devastating conflicts in these and other countries inevitably mean that any efforts to strengthen institutions and the state have taken a back seat. Yet security will only succeed long-term if governments make a genuine break with cronyism and build trust with citizens,” says Ghada Zughayar, Director for Middle East and North Africa.

“From Ebola to terrorism, we’ve seen corruption exacerbate crises during 2015 in Sub-Saharan Africa,” says Chantal Uwimana, Director for Sub-Saharan Africa. “Forty out of the region’s 46 countries show a serious corruption problem and there’s no improvement for continent powerhouses Nigeria and South Africa. If corruption and impunity are to ‘be a thing of the past’ as the African Union stated, governments need to take bold steps to ensure rule of law is the reality for everyone.”

Corruption is robbing billions of people of a brighter future. It’s time for justice

© Tony Maake. More than two decades after South Africa’s transition to democracy, many
communities still wait for taps and effective sewage systems to be built, raising questions as to where some of the funds are ending up.

 

The human cost of corruption is huge, yet all too often leaders with notoriously corrupt records continue to enjoy lives of luxury at the expense of people living in grinding poverty. It’s time they faced the consequence of their actions.

“Corruption will stop only when we collectively fight against it,” says photographer AM Ahad of his sad portrait of the nine-year-old child worker in Bangladesh. “It is crucial that we change the common mentality of accepting corruption and treat the crime as the terrible thing that it is.”

Take action with us. Join our global campaign to Unmask the Corrupt.

Corruption hurts people around the world.
You can help stop the corrupt from getting away with it.

Vote now to Unmask the Corrupt!

Downloads

Press Download the press release in Arabic, English, French, Mandarin Chinese, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish
Data and Methodology Access an Excel spreadsheet of the full results, notes on the methodology and a description of the index’s sources.
Report and Infographics Download the 2015 report and global and regional graphics.
FAQs Have a question about the index? Here are the answers to the most popular ones in five languages.

*Source: Transparency International. Go to Original

2016 Human Wrongs Watch

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