New index highlights worldwide corruption crisis, says Transparency International
The Corruption Perceptions Index 2001 ranks 91 countries. Almost two-thirds of the countries ranked in the new index score less than 5 out of a clean score of 10.
Berlin, June 27, 2001
"There is no end in sight to the misuse of power by those in public office - and corruption levels are perceived to be as high as ever in both the developed and developing worlds," said Peter Eigen, Chairman of Transparency International, speaking today on the launch of the Corruption Perceptions Index 2001. "There is a worldwide corruption crisis. That is the clear message from the year 2001 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), which reflects the degree to which corruption is perceived to exist among public officials and politicians. Scores of less than 5 out of a clean score of 10 are registered by countries on every continent," he said on the publication today of the CPI by Transparency International (TI).
This year's index, published by the world's leading non-governmental organisation fighting corruption, ranks 91 countries. Some of the richest countries in the world - Finland, Denmark, New Zealand, Iceland, Singapore and Sweden - scored 9 or higher out of a clean score of 10 in the new CPI, indicating very low levels of perceived corruption. But 55 countries - many of which are among the world's poorest - scored less than 5, suggesting high levels of perceived corruption in government and public administration. The countries with a score of 2 or less are Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Cameroon, Kenya, Indonesia, Uganda, Nigeria and Bangladesh.
The CPI, which TI first launched in 1995, is a poll of polls, this year drawing on 14 surveys from seven independent institutions. The surveys reflect the perceptions of business people, academics and country analysts. The surveys were undertaken over the past three years and no country has been included in the CPI without results from a minimum of three surveys. "This prudent approach means that we are unable to include a number of countries that probably have higher corruption levels than those included in the CPI," explained Peter Eigen. "Moreover, for some countries in the CPI, there are only three or four data sources and wide variations in the individual survey results. Small differences in ranking between countries should not be overstated."
"The new Index illustrates once more the vicious circle of poverty and corruption, where parents have to bribe underpaid teachers to secure an education for their children and underresourced health services provide a breeding ground for corruption. The world's poorest are the greatest victims of corruption," said Peter Eigen at a press conference in Paris. "Vast amounts of public funds are being wasted and stolen by corrupt officials," he continued.
TI's chairman said: "HIV AIDS is killing millions of Africans, and in many of the countries where AIDS is at its deadliest the problem is compounded by the fact that corruption levels are seen to be very high. While it is imperative that richer countries provide the fruits of medical research at an affordable price to address this human tragedy, it is also essential that corrupt governments do not steal from their own people. This is now an urgent priority if lives are to be saved."
The CPI also registers very high levels of perceived corruption in the countries in transition, in particular the former Soviet Union. Scores of 3.0 or less were recorded in Romania, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Russia, Ukraine and Azerbaijan. Peter Eigen noted: "The leaders of the countries of the former Soviet Union must do far more to establish the rule of law and transparency in government. This is crucial to their economic progress, and to the development of an open society."
While the CPI scores of most leading industrial countries are quite high, the CPI focuses on corruption involving public officials. It does not reflect secret payments to finance political campaigns, the complicity of banks in money laundering or bribery by multinational companies. Speaking in Washington DC, TI Vice Chairman Frank Vogl noted: "Corruption in the most prosperous countries in the world has many manifestations, and Transparency International is increasing its efforts to stimulate actions to secure greater transparency in politics, business and banking. We aim to publish a new Bribe Payers Index in early 2002 to shine the spotlight on the propensity of western firms to use bribes in emerging market economies."
TI Vice Chairman Tunku Abdul Aziz stated in Malaysia: "The CPI is based on the understanding that a change in the perceived level of corruption can be measured only by a consistent shift in behaviour over a number of years. As a result, it may not give credit to new government leaders who are making determined efforts to counter years of rampant corruption in their countries. For example, in recent times we have seen new leaders take the helm in Nigeria, Mexico and the Philippines intent upon far-reaching anti-corruption programmes."
"Relief from the IMF and increases in aid funding are evidence that the poor ranking of Nigeria in the CPI is recognised internationally as an inheritance that cannot be overturned in the space of one or two years," said Tunku Abdul Aziz. "The Nigerian administration has also made great strides in its quest to recover funds looted by the late dictator Sani Abacha."
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