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Corruption index: Denmark best, South Sudan worst, U.S. 25th

Christian Fernsby |
This year’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) from Transparency paints a grim picture of the state of corruption worldwide.

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Topics: DENMARK    SOUTH SUDAN    U.S.   

While most countries have made little to no progress in tackling corruption in almost a decade, more than two-thirds of countries score below 50.

Transparency research shows corruption not only undermines the global health response to COVID-19, but also contributes to a continuing crisis of democracy.

The index, which ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and businesspeople, uses a scale of zero to 100, where zero is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean.

Like previous years, more than two-thirds of countries score below 50 on this year’s CPI, with an average score of just 43. The data shows that despite some progress, most countries still fail to tackle corruption effectively.

The top countries on the CPI are Denmark and New Zealand, with scores of 88, followed by Finland, Singapore, Sweden and Switzerland, with scores of 85 each.

The bottom countries are South Sudan and Somalia, with scores of 12 each, followed by Syria (14), Yemen (15) and Venezuela (15).

The U.S. ended up on the 25th place.

Since 2012, 26 countries improved their CPI scores, including Greece, Myanmar and Ecuador. In the same period, 22 countries decreased their scores, including Lebanon, Malawi and Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Corruption undermines an equitable response to COVID-19 and other crises, highlighting the importance of transparency and anti-corruption measures in emergency situations.

Reports show corruption is prevalent across the COVID-19 response, from bribery for COVID-19 tests, treatment and other health services, to public procurement of medical supplies and overall emergency preparedness.

January 1, 2021


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