Transparency International's Corruption

Rich Nations Slip in Corruption Ratings

September 29, 2008 05:51 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
The group Transparency International says wealthier countries need to do more to fight corruption, although the problem remains most serious in poor nations.

Corruption Watchdog Releases Rankings

Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index measures “perceived levels of public-sector corruption” in 180 countries, based on expert and business surveys on a scale from 0 (highly corrupt) to 10 (highly clean).

The group says that wealthy, industrialized nations have dropped substantially in the rankings, and are not serious enough about fighting corruption. In particular, they need to examine bribery and questionable methods of acquiring and managing businesses overseas, as well as increase oversight of the corporate sector and curb the influence of cash in politics.

“This sort of double standard is unacceptable and disregards international legal standards,” said Huguette Labelle, the chair of the Berlin-based group. “Beyond its corrosive effects on the rule of law and public confidence, this lack of resolution undermines the credibility of the wealthiest nations in calling for greater action to fight corruption by low-income countries.”

TI also said that in poor nations, corruption is a “humanitarian disaster” caused by a fatal brew of poverty, failed institutions and graft.

Analysis: Corruption around the world

Among the countries ranked at the very bottom were Somalia, with 1 point, and Burma and Iraq, which both had a score of 1.3.

“Everyone that tries to do any work there, any sort of assistance that goes in has to be monitored very carefully because there is a cut for everyone to pocket it instead of it going into the education, the health, the clean water that people need there.” Casey Kelso, a regional director for TI, said about Somalia, to Voice of America.

Kelso also said that Iraq is still perceived as being very corrupt. “Where is the oil going, how many bribes must be paid, the lack of clarity and transparency in assigning contracts out for establishing [everything] from new schools to pipelines to electricity generation,” Kelso said.

The United States ranked 18th this year, while Canada was found to be the least corrupt country in the Americas and an “inspiration” for its neighbors, according to the TI report.

In Europe, the report says that the U.K., France, Finland and Bulgaria have lost ground due to a series of political and business scandals. The U.K. fell to 16th from 12th place, while Finland fell to 5th from 1st place because of a campaign finance scandal.

Sweden, which topped the rankings along with Denmark and New Zealand, had an overall score of 9.3.

The Kyiv Post reports that in Russia, where corruption is at its worst level in eight years, its ranking of 147th might become an additional concern to investors a week after the nation’s stock markets suffered their biggest losses in a decade.

The rankings were “a mixed bag” in Asia, says Radio Australia. The countries in the region that ranked high were more developed nations such as New Zealand, Singapore and Australia, while Burma and Afghanistan congregated at the bottom of the list.

Nine West African countries rose in the rankings while nine others sunk, reports AllAfrica. Eight West African countries were included in the bottom 20 countries, including Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoir, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Sierra Leone, Equatorial Guinea, Chad and Guinea, which placed 6th from last.

Most Recent Beyond The Headlines