Corruption Perceptions
Index 2015

More than 6 billion people live in countries with a serious corruption problem

© AM Ahad

This nine-year-old girl is one of them.

She lives in Dhaka, Bangladesh – one of 114 countries that scores below 50 out of 100 in our 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index, indicating serious levels of public sector corruption.

Instead of going to school, she spends her days sorting bottles at a recycling factory. Officially child labour is illegal in Bangladesh. Unofficially a bribe paid to the right official can mean exceptions are made.

Like all exploitation, child labour remains a sad reality in environments where citizens are trapped in poverty and corrupt officials can be paid off.

It’s just one example of the devastation fuelled by corruption. Others include human trafficking, child mortality, poor education standards, environmental destruction and terrorism.

Put simply – public sector corruption is about so much more than missing money. It’s about people’s lives. And as the map below shows, it’s a global problem.

Click country to view score and rank Download Excel data Download json data

Based on expert opinion, the Corruption Perceptions Index measures the perceived levels of public sector corruption worldwide.

Dark red indicates a highly corrupt public sector. Lighter red and orange countries fare a bit better, but corruption among public institutions and employees is still common. Yellow countries are perceived as cleaner, but not perfect.

The scale of the issue is huge. Sixty-eight per cent of countries worldwide have a serious corruption problem. Half of the G20 are among them.

Not one single country, anywhere in the world, is corruption-free.

Poor countries lose US$1 trillion a year to corruption. It’s time for justice
© Giles Clarke. Three men live and work on a massive waste dump just miles outside the capital of Haiti – tied with Venezuela as the Americas’ lowest scorer. Around 2,000 other people make up the ‘dump community’ who live in dirt and smoke 24 hours a day without running water. They all want to work elsewhere but can't find employment.

The 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index clearly shows that corruption remains a blight around the world. But 2015 was also a year when people again took to the streets to protest corruption. People across the globe sent a strong signal to those in power: it is time to tackle grand corruption. José Ugaz,
Chair, Transparency International

Which countries improved? Which got worse?

2015 showed that people working together can succeed in fighting corruption. Although corruption is still rife globally, more countries improved their scores in 2015 than declined.

Some countries have improved in recent years – Greece, Senegal and the UK are among those that have seen a significant increase in scores since 2012.

Others, including Australia, Brazil, Libya, Spain and Turkey, have deteriorated.

Dealing with many entrenched corruption issues, Brazil has been rocked by the Petrobras scandal, in which politicians are reported to have taken kickbacks in exchange for awarding public contracts. As the economy crunches, tens of thousands of ordinary Brazilians have lost their jobs already. They didn’t make the decisions that led to the scandal. But they’re the ones living with the consequences.

PETROBRAS
Brazil’s state-controlled oil giant
  • US$2 billion in reported bribes, kickbacks and money laundering
  • Tens of thousands of jobs lost
  • Over a million people protest on the streets

CORRUPTION AND CONFLICT
GO HAND IN HAND

© Xinhua/Pan Chaoyue. In Syria, as in other countries, deep corruption has helped finance violent extremist groups and provide them with a powerful narrative for recruitment. Vast quantities of weapons have been sold in the region primarily by Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States often with little oversight.

Lowest scorers characterised by bloody and entrenched conflict

Five of the 10 most corrupt countries also rank among the 10 least peaceful places in the world.

In Afghanistan, millions of dollars that should have gone on reconstruction have been reportedly wasted or stolen, seriously undermining efforts to sustain peace.

Even where there’s not open conflict, the levels of inequality and poverty in these countries are devastating.

In Angola, 70 per cent of the population live on US$2 a day or less. One in six children die before the age of five – making it the deadliest place in the world to be a child. More than 150,000 children die each year. But not everyone’s suffering.

Dubbed Africa’s youngest billionaire, Isabel dos Santos made her US$3.4 billion fortune from the national diamond and telecommunications business. She’s also the president’s daughter.

ISABEL DOS SANTOS
Daughter of Angola’s President
  • Africa’s youngest billionaire, worth US$3.4 billion
  • Angola has the world’s highest child mortality rate

ARE HIGH SCORING COUNTRIES
EXPORTING CORRUPTION OVERSEAS?

© David Rengel. An activist in Cambodia stands on piles of wood that once formed the forest she grew up in. She says the government evicted her village to make way for foreign companies who want to use the area to grow sugarcane and rubber. She’s now fighting to regain the land.

Many “clean” countries have dodgy records overseas

Northern Europe emerges well in the index – it’s home to four of the top five countries.

But just because a country has a clean public sector at home, doesn’t mean it isn’t linked to corruption elsewhere.

Take Sweden for instance. It comes third in the index, yet the Swedish-Finnish firm TeliaSonera – 37 per cent owned by the Swedish state – is facing allegations that it paid millions of dollars in bribes to secure business in Uzbekistan, which comes in at 153rd in the index.

The company is now pulling out of business in Central Asia, but Sweden isn’t the only “clean” country to be linked to dodgy behaviour overseas. As our research shows, half of all OECD countries are violating their international obligations to crack down on bribery by their companies abroad.

Table of results: Corruption Perceptions Index 2015

A country or territory’s score indicates the perceived level of public sector corruption on a scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). A country's rank indicates its position relative to the other countries in the index. This year's index includes 168 countries and territories. Click on the column headings to sort the results, or use the search to view the results for one country. Note that N/A means a country was not included in the index during a particular year. To learn more about the results and view the confidence intervals, please see our FAQs and download an XLS or JSON of the results.

Corruption can be beaten if we work together. To stamp out the abuse of power, bribery and shed light on secret deals, citizens must together tell their governments they have had enough. José Ugaz,
Chair, Transparency International

Corruption breakdown by region

By looking at the regions, certain trends emerge:

“We’ve witnessed two remarkable trends in the Americas in 2015: the uncovering of grand corruption networks and the mass mobilisation of citizens against corruption,” says Alejandro Salas, Transparency International Director for the Americas. “The Petrobras and La Línea scandals are testament to these trends in the two biggest regional decliners: Brazil and Guatemala. The challenge now is to tackle the underlying causes and reduce impunity for corruption.”

© Mauro Pimentel. Protesters attempt to set fire to the Rio de Janeiro’s Legislative Assembly during the first night of 2013 corruption protests known as the "June Days". In 2015 the city saw more massive public demonstrations, as the Petrobras scandal unfolded into Brazil’s largest ever corruption scandal.

“Between Australia’s slipping scores and North Korea’s predictably disastrous performance, this year’s index shows no significant improvement,” notes Srirak Plipat, Director for Asia Pacific. “Has Asia Pacific stalled in its efforts to fight corruption? This year’s poor results demand that leaders revisit the genuineness of their efforts and propel the region forward with actionable measures.”

“While a handful of countries in Europe and Central Asia have improved, the general picture across this vast region is one of stagnation,” warns Anne Koch, Director for Europe and Central Asia. “Also very worrying is the marked deterioration in countries like Hungary, FYR of Macedonia, Spain and Turkey where we’re seeing corruption grow, while civil society space and democracy shrink. Corruption won’t be tackled until laws and regulations are put into action and civil society and the media are genuinely free.”

VIKTOR YANUKOVYCH
Former president of Ukraine
  • Lived in multi-million-dollar villa
  • Millions in state assets ended up in private hands
  • Fled to Russia before charged with embezzlement
© Mehman Huseynov. Police arrest a demonstrator at an opposition rally in Baku, Azerbaijan in 2012. It’s one of many low-scoring countries in the region in which civil society and free speech continue to face a vicious crackdown.

“Once again, 3 of the bottom 10 countries are from the Middle East and North Africa region – Iraq, Libya and Sudan. The ongoing devastating conflicts in these and other countries inevitably mean that any efforts to strengthen institutions and the state have taken a back seat. Yet security will only succeed long-term if governments make a genuine break with cronyism and build trust with citizens,” says Ghada Zughayar, Director for Middle East and North Africa.

“From Ebola to terrorism, we’ve seen corruption exacerbate crises during 2015 in Sub-Saharan Africa,” says Chantal Uwimana, Director for Sub-Saharan Africa. “Forty out of the region’s 46 countries show a serious corruption problem and there’s no improvement for continent powerhouses Nigeria and South Africa. If corruption and impunity are to 'be a thing of the past' as the African Union stated, governments need to take bold steps to ensure rule of law is the reality for everyone.”

Corruption is robbing billions of people of a brighter future. It's time for justice

© Tony Maake. More than two decades after South Africa’s transition to democracy, many communities still wait for taps and effective sewage systems to be built, raising questions as to where some of the funds are ending up.

The human cost of corruption is huge, yet all too often leaders with notoriously corrupt records continue to enjoy lives of luxury at the expense of people living in grinding poverty. It’s time they faced the consequence of their actions.

“Corruption will stop only when we collectively fight against it,” says photographer AM Ahad of his sad portrait of the nine-year-old child worker in Bangladesh. “It is crucial that we change the common mentality of accepting corruption and treat the crime as the terrible thing that it is.”

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Downloads

Correction (1 Feb 2016): The Arabic language Middle East & North Africa infographic was incorrectly titled. We apologise for this error, which has now been rectified.

PressDownload the press release in Arabic, English, French, Mandarin Chinese, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish
Data and Methodology Access an Excel spreadsheet of the full results, notes on the methodology and a description of the index's sources.
Report and Infographics Download the 2015 report and global and regional graphics.
FAQs Have a question about the index? Here are the answers to the most popular ones in five languages.

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