I went to the UK launch of the 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index on Wednesday night at Skinners' Hall. As expected some countries have gone up and some down in the rankings. A quick summary for you…
A depressing figure is that more than two thirds of the 175 countries in the Index remain with a score below 50, on a scale from 0 (perceived to be highly corrupt) to 100 (perceived to be very clean).
In first place once again is Denmark with a score of 92, although this top spot is no longer shared with New Zealand. At the bottom end of the scale North Korea and Somalia share last place, scoring just 8. Afghanistan has moved off the bottom spot to #172 with a score of 12. That may not seem much of an increase but in terms of development it’s very significant.
Does the index correlate with frontier markets, emerging economies and developing countries? Not exactly. Whilst TI considers that corporate secrecy and global money laundering make it harder for emerging economies to fight corruption, there are some success stories. Estonia at #26 is level with France and well above many other European countries.
The UK remains at #14 whilst the US has climbed to #17, a position jointly shared with three other jurisdictions, including Hong Kong. The UK may score relatively well but we need to stop encouraging corruption elsewhere by doing more to prevent money laundering. Corruption fuels inequality, holds back economic development and hurts the most vulnerable in society.
The position of China is certain to spark some debate. The score fell from 40 in 2013 to 36 in 2014, moving it from #80 to #100. This score was established despite the increased governmental anti-corruption drive within China targeting corrupt public officials. The reason for the fall? I would agree with most of the people I spoke to last night – in line with the title given to our organisation (yes, I am a individual member) ‘Transparency’ is a key objective. Without reforms in this area it would be difficult for any jurisdiction to climb the table, or even maintain their position in the face of advances in other countries. They only have to look at the top-scoring countries for an example to follow; support civil society, create clear rules to govern the behaviour of those in public positions, and create a public register on beneficial ownership information.
The events organised by Transparency International are worth attending if you have an interest in this area. Wednesday night was a well-organised event with some interesting panellists and guests, delivered in an outstanding venue. There are many ways in which you can get involved in combatting corruption in the UK and overseas; further details can be found on the TI-UK website atwww.transparency.org.uk
The full index can be viewed atwww.transparency.org/whatwedo/publication/cpi2014