Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Transparency International: How do countries rank on corruption?

More than two-thirds of the 175 countries and territories included in the Corruption Perceptions Index for 2014 scored below 50 on a 100-point scale. Just two, Denmark and New Zealand, ranked in the top 10 percentiles with scores of 92 and 91, respectively. North Korea and Somalia tied for last place with 8. The United States came in 17th place with a score of 74, a slight improvement over last year that put the country on the same level as Ireland, Hong Kong and Barbados. As in 2013, the European Union and Western European states had the best results, with just 16% of countries scoring below 50 points, compared with 95% in Eastern Europe and Central Asia and 92% in sub-Saharan Africa. Turkey recorded the biggest setback, dropping 5 points to score 45 in the wake of a string of sensational corruption allegations, including incriminating tapes in which President Recep Tayyip Erdogan appeared to be ordering his son Bilal to “make vanish” tens of millions of dollars in cash stashed at a family residence. Angola, China, Malawi and Rwanda also saw their scores fall by 4 points apiece. China’s dramatic slide — it fell 20 places from the previous year to 100th place with a score of 36 — came despite a high-profile drive by President Xi Jinping to root out corrupt officials, both high-ranking “tigers” and lowly “flies.” The Asia Pacific region includes some of the world’s fastest-growing economies, but 18 of the 28 countries included in the index scored less than 40 in 2014. India, the Philippines and Thailand all scored 38 and Indonesia came in at 34. Corruption also has been a problem for other emerging markets, including Brazil (with a score of 43), where officials are accused of siphoning billions of dollars from the state-run oil company Petrobras into the coffers of political parties; and Mexico (35), where the disappearance of 43 students called attention to the infiltration of local governments and police forces by organized crime. Of the 31 European nations surveyed, 26 had scores of 50 or greater while only 5 had scores less than 50. The 20 least corrupt countries in the world are Denmark, New Zealand, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Singapore, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Canada, Australia, Germany, Iceland, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Japan, Barbados, Hong Kong, Ireland and the United States.

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