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World

New Index Shows Minor Change in Worldwide Corruption

Transparency International’s new annual report says corrupt political elites and unscrupulous investors continue to kill sustainable growth - including Germany.

Berlin-based Transparency International (TI) said on Wednesday that 70 percent of the 102 countries it had surveyed for its 2002 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) had scored less than half-marks, a clear deterioration from last year.

Shortly before leaving for the UN Summit in Johannesburg, the organisation’s chairman, Peter Eigen told reporters that “political elites and their cronies continue to take kickbacks at every opportunity. Hand in glove with corrupt business people, they are trapping whole nations in poverty and hampering sustainable development.”

Three Steps Forwards, Two Steps Back

According to Transparency International there were a few positive signs in the former communist countries but most nations of the former Soviet Union were still riddled with corruption. The situation was similar in the world's developing countries - Latin America as a whole has slipped down considerably in the rankings of perceived public corruption.

There is little to crow about among the developed nations, too. Finland retained its place at the top of the table, followed by Denmark, New Zealand, Iceland, Singapore and Sweden. But Italy, in 31st place, and Greece, down at number 44, are now behind ex-Communist Slovenia, and Ireland's rating has also slipped from 7.5 to 6.9.

Speaking in Malaysia on the launch of CPI 2002, TI Vice-Chairman Tunku Abdul Aziz said, “The CPI has once again confirmed that corruption is a malady afflicting not only the developing countries, but also the developed world.”

In Germany, which ranked 18 in the 102 countries on the list, TI founder Peter Eigen warned that the country's international reputaion could be seriously damaged if it did not fight corrruption. "One must fear that Botswana (ranking 24) may one day overtake Germany", he said.

CPI not the whole picture

The CPI is collated from a number of independent surveys by non-governmental organisations, country analysts and business. A country is only taken into the CPI if it features three or more surveys. “It is important to emphasise that the CPI, even with 102 countries, is only a snapshot,” said Eigen. “There is not sufficient data on other countries, many of which are likely to be corrupt.”

Talking about the UN Summit in Johannesburg, Eigen stressed that it “must lead to action. Corruption impedes sustainable growth and robs the children of today of the resources they will need to survive tomorrow.”