Survey: Corruption Problems Rampant, Emerging Economies Still Far Behind

More than two-thirds of the 177 countries tracked in the newly released 2013 edition of Transparency International’s Corruptions Perceptions Index were found to have serious problems in corruption levels. Perhaps even more troubling is the absence of any of the traditional power economies among the 10 best nations or much in the way of improvement in emerging economies of note.

The two best performing nations in this year’s Corruption Perceptions Index, Denmark and New Zealand, tied at a level of 91. They were followed closely by Finland, Sweden, Norway and Singapore, representing almost no change from last year. Tied for worst performance, at a level of 8, were Somalia, North Korea and Afghanistan. Just 54 nations scored at or above the floor level of 50 that marks a serious corruption problem for those below it.

“This indicates a serious, worldwide corruption problem,” said Huguette Labelle, chair of Transparency International. “The world urgently needs a renewed effort to crack down on money laundering, clean up political finance, pursue the return of stolen assets and build more transparent public institutions.”

Among the true power economies, Germany led the way by scoring a 78, which earned it a 12th place ranking. The United Kingdom wasn’t far behind in 14th (76), with Japan in 18th (74) and the United States in 19th (73). Straddling the line between power players and emerging economies, China again lagged with a score of 40, good for 80th position. It was equal to Greece, which despite the low level can take heart in the four-point improvement since last year, according to Transparency International’s data. Fellow European Union bailout-recipient Ireland posted a similarly impressive improvement and came just short of cracking the top 20. Spain represented one of the worst declines in the index, falling to 59 from a 2012 level of 65.

Other economies considered “emerging” continued to demonstrate that corruption was holding back their potential in the business world. Turkey registered a score of 50 (53rd place), followed by Brazil’s and South Africa’s 42 (72nd), India’s 36 (94th), Mexico’s 34 (106th ) and Russia’s typically poor 28 (127th).

- Brian Shappell, CBA, CICP, NACM staff writer

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