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Corruption, "problem for all'

Kate BradyDecember 3, 2014

No country in the world has managed to achieve a perfect score of 100 in the 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index. The study by Transparency International urges failing states to adopt radical anti-corruption measures.

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Image: fotoknips - Fotolia.com

According to the Corruption Perceptions Index 2014, published by Transparency International on Wednesday, corruption is a problem "for all economies." To prevent the growing problem, the anti-corruption group said leading financial centers in the EU and US need to "act together with fast-growing economies."

"Poorly equipped schools, counterfeit medicine and elections decided by money," were just some of the consequences of corruption listed by the Index.

No perfect score

The Corruption Perceptions Index, which is based on expert opinion from around the world, measures the perceived levels of global public sector corruption worldwide. Somewhat alarmingly, not one single country managed to achieve a perfect score in this year's Index. On a scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean), more than two-thirds of countries scored below 50.

The countries with the most drastic fall in scores were China, which achieved 36 out of 100, Turkey with 45 and Angola with just 19, which fell from 23.

At the other end of the scale, Côte d´Ivoire, Egypt, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines were the biggest improvers, each increasing their score by five points. Afghanistan, Jordan, Mali and Switzerland also increased their scores by four points.

Topping the table, however was Denmark with a score of 92, which the Index praised for having a "strong rule of law, support for civil society and clear rules governing the behavior of those in public positions."

Germany was comfortably ranked in twelfth position with a score of 79 between Australia and Iceland. The EU and Western Europe as a whole had an average score of 66.

In joint bottom position was North Korea and Somalia, which both achieved just 8.

Infograph Corruption Index 2014

Abuse of power

"The 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index shows that economic growth is undermined and efforts to stop corruption fade when leaders and high level officials abuse power to appropriate public funds for personal gain," said José Ugaz, the chair of Transparency International.

Ugay called on countries at the bottom of the index to adopt radical anti-corruption measures in favor of their people and countries at the top of the index to ensure they don't export corrupt practices to underdeveloped countries.

Setting an example

Transparency International is also currently driving a campaign to "Unmask the Corrupt, which was launched to encourage the EU, the US and G20 countries to follow Denmark's lead in creating public registers. These would enable countries to clearly see who really controls, or is the beneficial owner, of every company.

"Public registers that show who really owns a company would make it harder for the corrupt to take off with the spoils of their abuse of power,” said Transparency International Managing Director Cobus de Swardt.