Transparency International Reveals Global Corruption Levels

History has shown that government and institutional corruption can greatly hinder progress in developing countries. A new study by Transparency International reports that countries with faster-growing economies are more prone to government corruption.

The research shows that governments in countries such as China, Turkey and Angola are becoming more corrupt with increased fraud and bribery while others are reducing corruption levels.

Corruption is a major issue that causes distress in the lives of the poor and impedes international efforts to bring countries out of poverty. Numerous international organizations stress that corruption causes major setbacks in development work. Transparency International also states that corrupt officials prevent progress and impair public trust in the government.

Chairperson of Transparency International, José Ugaz, emphasizes the severity of corruption, stating, “Grand corruption in big economies not only blocks basic human rights for the poorest but also creates governance problems and instability. Fast-growing economies whose governments refuse to be transparent and tolerate corruption create a culture of impunity in which corruption thrives.”

International aid has a large correlation with corruption in impoverished nations. While the causation for that corruption is debatable, the majority of researchers agree that foreign aid helps to increase national stability and to bring people out of desperate situations. The Transparency International Policy organization works to assure that foreign aid is not deterred by government corruption.

The organization’s recent report was developed from 13 data sources and the estimated perceptions of many businesspeople and experts. The index scores 175 countries from zero to 100, with zero comprising a “highly corrupt” public sector and 100 representing a “very clean” establishment.

Afghanistan, the Ivory Coast and Egypt made the most improvement in eliminating government corruption, though the countries still remain towards the bottom of the index. Almost all underdeveloped nations have scores below 50 (with zero being extremely corrupt and 100 very clean). Denmark has the lowest estimated level of corruption, while Somalia and North Korea are ranked as having the most corrupt governments, with a score of eight.

As the report shows that every country is affected, Transparency International warns that corruption is threatening economic growth across the globe. Higher levels of corruption are marked by widespread bribery and fraud, an absence of punishment for corruption and public institutions that fail to attend to citizens’ needs.

While some researchers disapprove of foreign aid, stating that in certain nations it has fostered corruption, Transparency International officials encourage the use of aid as a means to diminish corruption.

Peter Eigen, the founder of Transparency Interational, states that, “Additional aid resources are needed, but their delivery has to be structured in a way that takes account of the risk of corruption. At the same time, while developing countries need increased resources, both sides must work together to put an end to corruption.”

– Nina Verfaillie

Sources: The Guardian, World Bank, Transparency International 1, Transparency International 2
Photo: N.Y. Mag