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From the October 2001 issue of World
A Crisis of Corruption
Jim Lobe, Inter Press Service (international news agency), Rome,
Italy, June 27, 2001.
Bangladesh, Nigeria, Uganda, and Indonesia are seen
by international banks, risk analysts, and businesspeople as the
most corrupt countries among some 91 nations that attract foreign
investment, according to the latest annual index released by the
Berlin-based organization Transparency International (TI).
The corruption-fighting group said that Finland, Denmark, New Zealand,
Iceland, and Singapore were rated as the least corrupt by the same
respondents, according to TIs 2001 Corruption Perceptions
Index (CPI). The United States ranked 16th along with Israel and
just above Chile and Ireland. This years edition, which is
based on 14 international surveys, measures the degree to which
corruption is perceived to exist among public officials and politicians.
While major advances in forging new multilateral anticorruption
accords and in making public officials accountable for their self-dealing
were achieved over the past year, this years index showed
that there is a worldwide corruption crisis, according
to Peter Eigen, TIs chairman. Corruption levels are
perceived to be as high as ever in both the developed and developing
worlds, he said.
Indeed, of the 91 countries rated in this years index, 56
scored 5.0 or below. In the six years it has been published, the
CPI has gained a strong following among bankers and ratings agencies
that advise investors. Their judgments influence the flows
of vitally needed private capital to developing countries,
according to TIs vice chairman, Frank Vogl, who released the
report in Washington, D.C. With very few exceptions, international
capital will not go to countries that are seen to be hotbeds of
corruption, he noted.
China, which ranked 57th in this years index and has attracted
more foreign direct investment (FDI) than any other developing country
by far during the past decade, was one of the notable exceptions,
according to Vogl.
He also stressed that the traffic in small arms is particularly
corrupt, as suggested by the ongoing investigation of former Argentine
President Carlos Menem, the media sting of senior Indian Defense
Ministry officials, and the pending prosecution of former Peruvian
spymaster Vladimiro Montesinos. We estimate that a very high
proportion of small-arms deals in the world are the results of bribes,
Vogl stressed that the index should be used cautiously for several
reasons. More than 100 countries, including some like Angola and
Morocco, which attract substantial foreign investment, were not
rated this year. TI included countries on the index only if they
appeared in at least three independent surveys by reputable agencies
over the past three years. Among the source surveys on which the
index is based are those conducted by the World Bank, the World
Economic Forum, the Economist Intelligence Unit, and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Overall, according to Vogl, the survey is weighted toward the perceptions
of international businesspeople. He conceded that TIs own
index, because it receives broad media coverage, may affect the
surveys upon which it bases its own report. In addition, because
the surveys used in the report were taken over a three-year period,
major advances or backsliding by some countries in fighting corruption
during the past year would not necessarily be reflected in this
Nonetheless, there were some significant changes in the scores and
rankings in this years index compared to the 2000 CPI. Israel,
Italy, Colombia, and Egypt all made impressive gains in both categories
in the new index, while Bolivia, Costa Rica, Germany, Norway, Greece,
and Malawi all posted steep losses.
Finally, different surveys sometimes produced remarkably different
results for the same countries. Pakistan, for example, was given
scores as low as 0.8 in one survey and as high as 4.2 in another,
while Russias scores ranged from 0.3 to 4.2. TI gave them
both weighted scores of 2.3, placing them in a tie with Ecuador
for the 79th spot on the index.
Zimbabwe, with a 1.6 to 4.7 difference in scores derived from various
sources, fell into a similar category. Vogl suggested the lower
scores reflected the results of more recent surveys since the country
fell into economic crisis. Zimbabwe received a 2.9 score in the
2001 CPI, tying with Senegal, the Philippines, and Guatemala for
the 65th ranking.
Broken down regionally, Western Europe received the best scores,
with only Greece and Turkey scoring below 5.0.