The world urgently needs a renewed effort to crack down on money laundering, clean up political finance, pursue the return of stolen assets and build more transparent public institutions. These are the main conclusions of the Corruption Perceptions Index 2013 by Transparency International.
The annual index is known all over the world, ranking 177 countries and territories on a scale from 0 to 100. No country has ever attained a perfect score, and two thirds of countries in the world score below 50.
The Nordic countries remain at top positions , but Finland has fallen from its usual spot as number one on the list. Denmark and New Zealand share the top ranking on the index, with a score of 91, which indicates that there still is room for improvements in both countries. According to the report, Denmark lacks transparency regarding private contributions to political parties and parliamentary candidates, and political donations and gifts lack strong enough regulations.
This year, Finland had to share third place with Sweden. According to Finnish Transparency’s chair, Erkki Laukkanen, the data doesn’t explain why Finland has lost its number one position.
The title of most corrupt countries, or rather the least transparent, went to the same three countries as previous years: Somalia, North Korea and Afghanistan.
The Corruption Perceptions Index has been criticized by, amongst other, The Economist, for its methodology. Another concern is that countries ranked low on the index might lose support from possible or current donors - support that is crucial in order to combat corruption and transparency challenges. Also, as stated by the Finnish monthly newspaper Voima, the index’ focus is on open bribery and corruption, while it ignores malfeasance in public offices as well as tax evasion.
Corruption infects societies and institutions all over the world. The index, although not perfect, provides an overview of the current situation and serves as a reminder that the abuse of power, secret dealings and bribery continue to ravage societies around the world.
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