Corruption watchdog reports positive signs


By Sabine Vollmer

Several emerging economies have made strides in the past four years in tackling corruption and bribery, according to the 2015 Corruption Perception Index.

Six of the ten emerging economies perceived least corrupt improved their scores since 2012, Transparency International reported. Lithuania, Poland, and Qatar improved the most among the top ten emerging economies.

Of the 168 countries Transparency International monitored in 2015, Greece, Senegal, and the UK improved their scores the most since 2012. The average score worldwide remained at 43, which means about two-thirds of the countries scored below 50 on a scale of 0 (perceived to be highly corrupt) to 100 (perceived to be clean), but more countries had improving than declining scores.

Western Europe scored highest as a region; nine of the countries in the region were ranked in the 12 least corrupt countries worldwide. Asia Pacific, which had two global top scorers, came in second, followed by the Americas (the US ranked 16th with a score of 76), the Middle East & North Africa, Eastern Europe & Central Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa.

The watchdog group also reported on other pockets of hope. In India, ranked 76th with a score of 38, a new government has come to power on an anti-corruption platform. Saudi Arabia, ranked 48th with a score of 52, has improved its score three years in a row, from 44 in 2012. Senegal, ranked 61st with a score of 44, also improved its score by 8 points after the government introduced a series of anti-corruption measurements.

Still, “corruption remains a blight around the world,” José Ugaz, Transparency International’s chairman, said in a statement.

Sixty-eight per cent of the countries on the index have a serious corruption problem, which includes half of the world’s 20 major economies, also known as the G20.

The four countries whose scores declined the most in the past four years are Australia, ranked 13th with a score of 79 (down from 85 in 2012); Brazil, ranked 76th with a score of 38 (down from 43 in 2012); Spain, ranked 36th with a score of 58 (down from 65 in 2012); and Turkey, ranked 66th with a score of 42 (down from 49 in 2012).

Most trustworthy emerging markets

These emerging economies fared the best on the 2015 Corruption Perception Index:

  • Uruguay (21st)
  • Qatar (22nd)
  • Chile (23rd)
  • Estonia (23rd)
  • United Arab Emirates (23rd)
  • Bhutan (27th)
  • Botswana (28th)
  • Poland (30th)
  • Lithuania (32nd)

Sabine Vollmer (svollmer@aicpa.org) is a CGMA Magazine senior editor.