Transparency International has today released its globally recognised 20th annual Corruption Perceptions Index, which ranks 175 nations by their levels of perceived public corruption. 

The index reveals corruption levels and the direction in which countries are heading in combating corruption and bribery. The index analyses a variety of aspects including local enforcement of corruption and the level of commitment companies who operate in those countries have to anti-bribery and corruption. 

The index gives countries a score between zero and 100, zero being highly corrupt and 100 being honest and transparent. As corruption is incapable of being objectively measured, the Index bases its finding on the perceptions of groups around the world in a position to assess corruption in the public sector, such as staff and experts of both the African Development Bank and the World Bank. This approach has resulted in an Index which is highly regarded and relied upon by many companies when looking to do business overseas in order to ascertain their risk exposure with respect to bribery and corruption issues.

2014 Corruption Perceptions Index Results

The revised index identifies that the perceived levels of corruption have increased in China (now with a score of 36 out of 100), Turkey (45) and Angola (19), with the countries’ scores having fallen between four and five points from last year’s 2013 Corruption Index.

The index also emphasises that over two thirds (69%) of the 175 countries ranked scored below 50, highlighting the fact that bribery and corruption continues to be a serious impediment for many economies. Denmark was ranked least corrupt in the world with a score of 92 while North Korea and Somalia shared last place, scoring just eight. 

The countries with the greatest improvement were Côte d´Ivoire, Egypt, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (+5), Afghanistan, Jordan, Mali and Swaziland (+4). Australia ranked 11th in the world with a score of 80, while the USA scored 74 to sit in 17th place while the UK was ranked 14th overall with a score of 78. 

Combating bribery and corruption worldwide

Transparency International's mission is to stamp out corruption and promote transparency. By publicising corruption levels the index puts added pressure on governments to act. A country’s ranking also has commercial implications as it acts as a guide for those companies seeking overseas expansion. Corruption ranges from major threats such as organised crime to petty bribery. 

At the same time, the OECD has just released its first Foreign Bribery Report which measures the extent of foreign public sector bribery by drawing from 427 foreign bribery cases that have been concluded since the OECD’s Anti-Bribery Convention was entered into in 1999. The Report’s findings are that bribes are being paid across sectors to officials from countries at all stages of economic development and that intermediaries are used in most corruption transactions. Of concern is that senior management tend to be involved in, or at least aware of, the payment of bribes. Yet, as the Report notes bribes average 10.9% of the total transaction value and with “combined monetary sanctions ranging from 100 to 200% of the proceeds of the corrupt transaction in 41% of cases, the business case against corruption is clear”.

The 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index can be accessed online here. The OECD Foreign Bribery Report can be accessed online here.