The 2012 Corruption Perceptions Index compiled by Berlin-based NGO Transparency International lists Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia as having the most corrupt governments in the world.
“Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia once again cling to the bottom rung of the index,” read a press release from Transparency Int “In these countries the lack of accountable leadership and effective public institutions underscore the need to take a much stronger stance against corruption.”
The CPI ranks countries based on a score measuring corruption from zero (extremely corrupt) to 100 (not corrupt at all) with this year’s index including a total of 176 nations.
“Two thirds of the 176 countries ranked in the 2012 index score below 50 … showing that public institutions need to be more transparent, and powerful officials more accountable,” Transparency Int'l stated.
Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia all received scores of 8. Other countries near the bottom included Uzbekistan, Myanmar and Sudan with scores of 17, 15 and 13, respectively.
At the top of the index were Denmark, Finland and New Zealand, all with scores of 90, “helped by strong access to information systems and rules governing the behavior of those in public positions,” Transparency Int'l said.
The U.S. ranked near the top with a score of 73.
The CPI is not based entirely on hard data, and attempts to gauge the perception of corruption in any given country based on a variety of factors.
“It is a composite index, a combination of surveys and assessments of corruption, collected by a variety of reputable institutions,” Transparency Int'l said.
“There is no meaningful way to assess absolute levels of corruption in countries or territories on the basis of hard empirical data,” it added.
“Capturing perceptions of corruption of those in a position to offer assessments of public sector corruption is the most reliable method of comparing relative corruption levels across countries.”
Transparency aims to increase accountability among governments by drawing attention to corrupt practices through reports like the CPI.
“Governments need to integrate anti-corruption actions into all public decision-making. Priorities include better rules on lobbying and political financing, making public spending and contracting more transparent and making public bodies more accountable to people,” said Huguette Labelle, the Chair of Transparency, in a statement.
“After a year of focus on corruption, we expect governments to take a tougher stance against the abuse of power. The Corruption Perceptions Index 2012 results demonstrate that societies continue to pay the high cost of corruption.”