The results at a glance
The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) ranks of countries around the world, based on how corrupt their public sectors are perceived to be. The results are given on a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean.
This year’s CPI paints a grim picture of the state of corruption worldwide.
More than two-thirds of countries score below 50. And despite some progress, nearly half of all countries have been stagnant on the CPI for almost a decade. These countries have failed to move the needle in any significant way to improve their score and combat public sector corruption.
Beyond the index: trouble at the top, COVID-19 and the most significant movers
2020 was marked by the outbreak of a global pandemic which profoundly reshaped the world.
Corruption and emergencies feed off each other, creating a vicious cycle of mismanagement and deeper crisis. The large sums of money required to deal with emergencies and the need for urgency in disbursing these funds form a perfect storm for corruption.
Our research shows that corruption not only undermines the global health response to COVID-19, but also contributes to a continuing crisis of democracy.
Meanwhile, several countries this year made unexpected losses or gains – and new evidence that many “clean” countries ranked at the top of the CPI are in fact fuelling corruption outside their borders.
Not only does corruption undermine the global health response to COVID-19, but it also contributes to a continuing crisis of democracy.
Five corruption cases of foreign bribery or money laundering in "clean" countries
Corruption Perceptions Index 2020: Research analysis
What is happening in the regions of the world?
While corruption differs in scale and scope depending on the region, it has proved a universal obstacle to combatting COVID-19.
At the top of the CPI, the pandemic tested transparency levels in Western Europe and the European Union. In Asia Pacific and the Americas, some governments used COVID-19 to consolidate power, but left citizens without emergency aid. In the Middle East and North Africa, countries weakened anticorruption measures, while parts of Eastern Europe and Central Asia curtailed civil liberties and reduced much-needed checks and balances. At the bottom of the CPI, Sub-Saharan Africa responded to COVID-19 with protests against rising costs of living, corruption and the misuse of emergency funds.
Check out the latest corruption wins, scandals and predictions for each region of the world.
CPI 2020: Americas
The Americas showcase corruption and the mismanagement of funds in one of the regions most affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
CPI 2020: Asia Pacific
The Asia Pacific region struggles to combat corruption and tackle the profound health and economic impact of COVID-19.
CPI 2020: Sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa is the lowest performing region on the CPI, underscoring a need for urgent action.
CPI 2020: Western Europe & European Union
Western Europe and the EU is the highest performing region on the CPI, but is under enormous strain due to COVID-19.
CPI 2020: Middle East & North Africa
The MENA region is still perceived as highly corrupt, with little progress made towards controlling corruption.
CPI 2020: Eastern Europe & Central Asia
Eastern Europe and Central Asia is the second-lowest performing region on the CPI and vulnerable to corruption compounded by COVID-19.
The CPI Explained
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.