Berlin, Germany – Transparency International (TI) published on Wednesday its annual Corruption Perception Index (CPI), which measures the perceived levels of corruption worldwide in the public sector. Those countries that have significantly improved their scores since 2012 include Greece, Senegal and the UK, while Australia, Brazil, Libya, Spain and Turkey have declined.

According to Transparency International, around 68 percent of countries have a severe corruption problem. However, compared with the previous years, more nations improved their scores in 2015 than deteriorated. Still, cleaner does not mean perfect, since not one single country in the world is free of corruption, as stated by TI.

The image shows the map of the most and less corrupt countries in the world, according to Transparency International. Credit: Transparency International

Corruption is a serious issue that affects ordinary people’s lives

Brazil, which scored 76th on the list of 167 countries, has been hit by the Petrobras scandal, in which politicians have reportedly taken kickbacks in order to be awarded public contracts. Tens of thousands of Brazilians who were not involved in the scandal are suffering the consequences as tens of thousands have lost their jobs as a consequence of corruption.

In Venezuela, the most corrupt country in Latin America as it scored 158th in the index, the current so-called “revolution” started by former president Hugo Chávez has for 17 years seen how senior officials take the best out of the world’s highest oil reserves. Now, the citizens – both pro-government and opposition – are living in extreme distress due to the hyperinflation (the highest worldwide), limited job opportunities and organized crime.

Corruption is also a form of violence. In Angola, 70 percent of the entire population live on less than US$2 a day and one of every six children die before the age of five, which makes it the country with the highest child mortality rate in the world. Annually, more than 150,000 children die. Meanwhile, the daughter of the President, Isabel dos Santos, figures as Africa’s youngest billionaire with a US$3.4 billion fortune from the national telecommunications and diamond business.

On the other hand, Northern Europe is home to four of the top five nations that have a clean public sector. Nevertheless, it does not mean that they are not related to corruption elsewhere. For instance, Sweden scored 3rd in the index, but the Swedish-Finnish company TeliaSonera, which is thirty-seven percent owned by the Swedish state, has been accused of paying millions of dollars in bribes to secure business in Uzbekistan, a country that comes in at 153rd in the CPI.

Anne Koch, Director for Europe and Central Asia, remarked that the overall picture in that region is one of stagnation, although she admitted that a few countries have improved.

“Also very worrying is the marked deterioration in countries like Hungary, FYR of Macedonia, Spain and Turkey where we’re seeing corruption grow, while civil society space and democracy shrink. Corruption won’t be tackled until laws and regulations are put into action and civil society and the media are genuinely free,” Koch stated.

Source: Transparency International