Corruption Perceptions Index
Transparency International released their annual Corruption Perceptions Index, which measures the perceived levels of public sector corruption in 180 countries and territories. The results are scored on a scale from 0 to 100, where 0 is “highly corrupt” and 100 is “very clean.”
This year’s average corruption perception score was 43, showing no improvement from their 2016 report. Despite this, some countries have made significant individual strides, such as Afghanistan, whose score has increased by seven points within the last six years. Western Europe proved the most successful region, with an average score of 66, while Sub-Saharan Africa only reached an average of 32.
Utilizing this information, Transparency International provided analysis concerning what factors coincided with higher corruption levels. For example, they discovered that countries with the highest rates of corruption also maintained the least protections for members of the media. Although each region faces some unique challenges, one piece of advice underscored each region’s findings: “Civil society has a crucial role to play.” See where your country scored on their interactive corruption perceptions map.
Corruption has played a pivotal role in sustaining appallingly high levels of poverty in many developing countries, particularly in relation to the deficient provision of basic services such as education and health care. It is also a major reason why growth-rate increases in Africa and South Asia, have failed to benefit large segments of the population, and some low growth-rate countries in Latin America, such as Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua, keep the vast majority of their population in a situation of extreme misery.
Corruption drives the overexploitation of natural resources, capturing their value for a small elite—whether timber from Indonesia or coltan from Congo. In the developed world, corrupt funding undermines political systems and lays policy open to heavy financial lobbying.