With unstable financial markets, climate change unyielding and poverty escalating, corruption remains a huge obstacle for governments across the globe as they try to tackle the world’s most pressing issues.
Measuring levels of corruption is difficult to achieve.
As part of a global effort to tackle corruption, Transparency International (TI) was inaugurated, a global civil society organisation that is leading the fight against corruption.
One ‘measuring tool’ is the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), which helps TI measure corruption and serves to help organizations across the world fight it.
In 2010, TI published the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), which ranked 178 countries according to perception of corruption in the public sector of those countries.
The Three Most Corrupt Countries
Whilst Denmark, New Zealand and Singapore ranked highest in the CPI, scoring 9.3 points out of a possible 10 – 10 meaning a country is “very clean” and 0 meaning a nation is “highly corrupt” – the worst offenders that ranked the lowest included Somalia, which scored 1.1, closely followed by Myanmar and Afghanistan, both of which scored just 1.4 points.
The CPI results are drawn from 13 different assessments published between January 2009 and September 2010.
These assessments include business opinion surveys and are carried out by independent and reputable institutions.
Essentially, the assessments used to compile the index comprised of questions related to the misuse of public funds, the bribery of public officials, kickbacks in public procurement, and questions that explore the strength and effectiveness of public sector anti-corruption efforts.
War-torn Somalia remained at the very bottom of the CPI for the third year running, and the pattern that seems to be emerging from the TI’s annual global survey is that it is war-torn nations that remain the world’s most corrupt.
“When essential institutions are weak or non-existent, corruption spirals out of control,” said a TI spokesperson.
This is certainly the case in Somalia, where a societal breakdown accompanied by a famine means corruption has found fertile ground.
Somalia Remains the Worst Offender
Somalia’s problems have stemmed from a succession of repressive regimes, disastrous domestic policies, diminishing food production rates, systematic disregard of basic liberties, and periodic famines.
All of these factors together spawned bandits that roam the country and its waters, plundering and pillaging, with corruption becoming institutionalized.
Despite U.S. and UN interventions in Somalia, the country remains deep in conflict where corruption breeds on every level, with the intervention occurring in Somalia being criticized for lack of ‘African initiatives’.
Corruption in Myanmar
Myanmar, alongside Afghanistan, has been ranked as the second most corrupt nation in the world by TI.
According to the 2005 Investment Climate Statement – conducted by the U.S. Department of State:
“Corruption is systematic in Burma [Myanmar] and is considered by economists and business people to be one of the most serious barriers to investment and doing business in Burma. Because of the Byzantine and capricious regulatory environment, rent-seeking activities are rampant and very little can be accomplished without paying ‘tea money’.”
More simply put, without corruption, not one single government member or official in Myanmar would be able to hold on to their job.
This has been the case in Myanmar since the early 1960s and is progressively becoming worse, propagating the regular saying in Burma, “Eat as much as possible while one is in position, because one never knows how long this will last.”
Corruption has been blamed on thwarting aid relief in Myanmar. Despite the international community pouring $85 million into the country, human rights groups claim that the government is manipulating and misusing the aid, and that it rarely reaches the people who most urgently need it.
Problems in Afghanistan
In Afghanistan, the situation is depressingly similar.
The bribing of officials, one of the CPI’s primary focuses when compiling the index, is rife in Afghanistan.
If you need a driving license in Afghanistan, $180 will get you one almost immediately. If you need to get out of jail, $60,000 will guarantee your release.
According to a UN study, bribery in Afghanistan is equal to a quarter of the nation’s GDP.
While the CPI shows that the world’s poorest countries are the worse hit by corruption, the latest CPI also shows that wealthier countries are at risk, with countries such as Italy, Greece and the U.S. slipping in their rankings compared to previous years.
The fact that three quarters of the 178 countries featured on TI’s corruption perception index scored below five, and the fact that countries such as the U.S have slipped from 20th position in previous years to 22nd position, behind both Quatar and Chile, reveals that the problem of global corruption is worsening, and is not only a weakness confined to the developing world.
Image Credit: CTVOriginally published on TopSecretWriters.com