Transparency International (TI) [advocacy website] Thursday released its 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) [report, PDF; press release], again showing some governments failing to protect citizens from corruption, be it abuse of public resources, bribery or secretive decision-making. The CPI scores 183 countries and territories from 0 (highly corrupt) to 10 (very clean) based on perceived levels of public sector corruption, using data from 17 surveys collected by independent agencies concerning bribery of public officials, kickbacks in public procurement, embezzlement of public funds, access to information, conflicts of interest and the effectiveness of any anti-corruption campaign at work in a country. New Zealand tops the list with a score of 9.5, followed by Denmark and Finland with 9.4 and Sweden with 9.3. The US again scored 7.1, ranking 24th, behind Qatar and Chile, tied for 22nd place, and ahead of France at 25th place. Greece came in 80th, tying Colombia, El Salvador, Peru, Morocco and Thailand. Most Arab Spring countries rank in the lower half of the index, scoring below 4. Transparency International Managing Director, Cobus de Swardt provided commentary:
2011 saw the movement for greater transparency take on irresistible momentum, as citizens around the world demand accountability from their governments. High-scoring countries show that over time efforts to improve transparency can, if sustained, be successful and benefit their people.Before the Arab Spring a TI report on the region warned that nepotism, bribery and patronage were so deeply engrained in daily life that even existing anti-corruption laws had little impact. Last on the list is Somalia, ranked as the most corrupt country for the fourth year in a row and tied at 1.0 with North Korea, which this year was included in the index for the first time. Two-thirds of all ranked countries scored less than 5.
In July Dimitrios Ioannidis of Roach, Ioannidis & Megaloudis, LLC, noted TI's corruption quantification, writing that several recent cases of corrupt practices by US companies operating overseas highlights the need for greater domestic and international enforcement mechanisms [JURIST comment] to prevent such practices. Last year's CPI report noted improvements [JURIST report] over 2009's report in corruption perception in Bhutan, Chile, Ecuador, FYR Macedonia, Gambia, Haiti, Jamaica, Kuwait and Qatar, while that year Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Madagascar and Niger dropped in the rankings. This year TI identified Russia, Iran, France, the United Arab Emirates, Poland and Cuba as nations where improvement had been made. Conversely, Haiti, Zimbabwe, India, Saudi Arabia, Czech Republic, Ireland, Qatar and Costa Rica are nations where perceptions have deteriorated since last year. Along with Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan have continued to bottom the list consistently, going back to CPI reports from 2008, 2007 and 2006 [JURIST reports].