2011 Corruption Perceptions Index Shows Many Surprises – Including For Canada

The annual Corruption Percentage Index has been released which ranks the most corrupt countries to the least corrupt. If there are two points one would most get from this list, it would be that Canada is slipping and that this is a very corrupt world.

Since three years ago, I’ve taken an interest in a certain annual chart. It’s called the Corruption Perceptions Index and it’s released by Transparency International. Transparency International is an international watchdog association headquartered in Berlin with 70 international chapters that monitors the corruption levels in countries around the world. Every year since 2002, they publish what they call a Corruption Perception Index which shows the annual corruption ranking of each country. They rank the countries based on a scale they give from 0 to 10. 0 is completely corrupt while 10 is not corrupt at all.

Many welcome their results while others question the validity and accuracy of the results. Some question whether Transparency International really has all their facts together when they make their list. The thing we shouldn’t forget about the list is that it’s about perceived corruption: the people’s ability to sense or notice corruption in their own country. This is based on poll questions ranging from “Do you trust the government?” to “Is corruption a big problem in your country?” Without a doubt, the results are rather surprising. Plus we shouldn’t forget that most governments do a good job of hiding their corruption so it’s hard to sense.

In the past, Canada has done very well ever since the Index has been published. Canada ranked an impressive 10th-least corrupt in 2011 with a score of 8.7. However the rank becomes less impressive knowing that last year, Canada ranked 6th with a score of 8.9. Also making it less impressive is the fact that it’s Canada’s lowest ranking on the list since 2006. The lowest Canada ever ranked on that list was 14th back in 2006 and 2005, and what was around the time the Gomery Scandal was fresh in the mind of most Canadians. The most recent government scandal–the Harper government’s contempt of parliament which led to a national election–had a lot to do with Canada’s slip of four spots.

For the record, here are the Top 10 least corrupt countries, according to this year’s Corruption Perceptions Index with score in brackets:

1)New Zealand (9.5)

2)Denmark (9.4)

2)Finland (9.4)

4)Sweden (9.3)

5)Singapore (9.2)

6)Norway (9.0)

7)Netherlands (8.9)

8)Australia (8.8)

8)Switzerland (8.8)

10)Canada (8.7)

Viewing the overall results can give some interesting facts and figures. Interesting how the Scandinavian countries and the major countries of Oceania had the highest rankings. The only Scandinavian country not to make the Top 10 was Iceland at 13th with 8.3. It’s a shame because they used to rank #1 in 2005 and 2006 with as high as a 9.7. Hong Kong ranked 12th. Many countries which has some of the most established democracies ranked lower than most people would expect like Germany and Japan ties for 14th, United Kingdom in 16th, the United States in 24th and France in 25th and Italy in 69th. The highest ranking country under a dictatorship was Qatar in 22nd. The highest ranking African country was Botswana in 32nd.

An interesting find is that 49 of the 183 countries ranked received a 5.0 or higher, sending a message about how this is quite a corrupt world. The country at #49 is Rwanda with a 5.0. That’s especially surprising since many people could remember the bloody civil war they went through back in 1994. The list is as good at monitoring improvements as it is in monitoring weakenings. Rwanda had the highest jump up from 4.0 from last year. For the record, the biggest drop in pointage came from Slovenia which went from 6.4 last year to 5.8 this year. The dictatorship of Cuba ranked a surprisingly high 62nd, outranking such democracies like Italy, South Africa and Greece. Syria and Yemen, which made bad news this year for its constant clashes with people marching for freedom, ranked 129th and 164th respectively. Also Venezuela, which continuously makes bad news with its dictator Hugo Chavez, ranked 172th. Since we’re on the topic of Venezuela, here’s the ten most corrupt countries on the list, the ‘Bottom 10’:

182)Somalia (1.0)

182)North Korea (1.0)

180)Myanmar (1.5)

180)Afghanistan (1.5)

177)Uzbekistan (1.6)

177)Turkmenistan (1.6)

177)Sudan (1.6)

175)Iraq (1.8)

175)Haiti (1.8)

172)Venezuela (1.9)

172)Equatorial Guinea (1.9)

172)Burundi (1.9)

Most of the bottom countries are already well-known for their governments continuously making bad news. They remind us that when things seem to be going wrong in our country, there are countries where corruption is not only very present but sometimes part of daily life.

So there you have it: a brief summary of the 2011 Corruption Perception Index and its interesting finds. With the politics of the world changing frequently and varying from country to country, there should be many interesting finds for 2012. The politics in Canada will determine if we can improve on our 10th-place ranking. The nation of South Sudan should make its debut next year. Also Arabic countries which had successful fights for freedom this year could see interesting results for next year. If you want to keep track, Libya ranked 168th, Tunisia ranked 73rd and Egypt ranked 112th for 2011. Stay tuned for next year’s rakings.

If you want to learn more about Transparency International and the Corruption Perceptions Index, which I have used in my article here, here are the links to go to:

Transparency International: http://www.transparency.org/

2011 Corruption Perceptions Index (with link to list): http://cpi.transparency.org/cpi2011/

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