As in 2021, the measurement of corruption perceptions covered 180 countries. All in all, the countries have made almost no progress since last year: according to the findings of the study 68 per cent of countries got less than 50 points with the average score for all countries at only 43 points, like in the previous year.
The best results, as usual, were achieved by Denmark (90 points out of 100), Finland (87), New Zealand (87), Norway (84), Singapore (83), Sweden (83), Switzerland (82), the Netherlands (80), Germany (79), Ireland (77) and Luxemburg (77). However, the TI experts reiterate one more time that even the leaders of the CPI ranking do not actually always take sufficiently effective measures to counter corruption, primarily, transnational one, and even favour it in certain cases.
The bottom countries in the ranking are Somalia (12), Syria (13), South Sudan (13), Venezuela (14), Yemen (16), Libya (17), North Korea (17), Haiti (17), Equatorial Guinea (17) and Burundi (17). At the same time, Afghanistan that was among the ten outsiders in 2021, has considerably improved its positioning, moving from 174th to 150th place.
Russia has scored 28 points out of 100 (one point less than in the previous year) and is placed 137th at the same level as Mali and Paraguay.
To sum it up, the TI experts stress that for the last ten years 86 per cent of countries have made no progress or have regressed. In particular, since 2012 31 countries have seen their scores decreasing, 124 have remained almost at the same level and other 25 countries have shown progress in combating corruption; moreover, since 2017, only eight countries have improved their positioning in the ranking, whereas ten countries have regressed, including those that are normally placed at the top of the ranking such as Austria, Luxemburg and the United Kingdom.
Besides the general ranking, TI has released separate overviews of corruption perceptions for six regions:
- The Americas. The TI experts highlight that it is the fourth consecutive year that the Americas do not demonstrate considerable changes in corruption perceptions, and in the last eight years some countries have seen their rankings drastically deteriorate. For instance, since 2014 Saint Lucia has dropped by 16 points, Guatemala – by 24 and Canada by seven since 2018. Law enforcement and officials cooperate with criminal organisations in many countries of the region also by taking bribes for their loyalty, while in certain countries the attempts to enhance the effectiveness of anti-corruption measures result in the concentration of broad discretionary powers in executive bodies, which hampers their transparency and accountability; in particular, the authors remind that extraordinary powers to suspend constitutional guarantees were granted to the executive branch in El Salvador, Ecuador and Honduras.
- Western Europe and the European Union. In spite of the fact that the Western European countries consistently occupy top positions in the ranking, the TI experts point to the lack of progress in most of them over the past ten years. This year, ten countries of the region got the lowest score in the entire CPI history: for instance, the United Kingdom dropped by five places if compared to the year before. According to the report, it may have been caused by loopholes in integrity requirements for officials and lobbying regulation: these topics are becoming particularly acute against the background of the corruption scandals which are underway in the EU, including the investigation into bribery of members of the European Parliament who got illegal remuneration from Qatari officials, concealment of its connection to a sanctioned energy company by the government of a German state, and the Uber Files investigation that suggested that major corporations exercised considerable influence on France’s politics. Furthermore, some Western European countries encounter difficulties in ensuring effective law enforcement against corruption and implementing corruption prevention measures (Spain, for example, has postponed the adoption of an anti-corruption plan and key acts on transparency of public bodies and officials, lobbying and protection of whistleblowers), a system of anti-corruption prohibitions, restrictions and obligations (Belgium, for instance, has not adopted comprehensive rules of conduct for ministers yet) etc.
- Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The TI experts believe that the region of Eastern Europe and Central Asia remains extremely corrupt: the average CPI score is 35, which is eight points below the global average. The authors of the study stress that this is favoured by political instability, limited civic participation and restricted media freedoms, as well as armed conflicts.
- Asia Pacific. In spite of the fact that the 2020 Global Corruption Barometer stressed that some Asian countries made progress in countering petty corruption, grand corruption still remains unaddressed. The TI experts point out that the state of emergency declared during the COVID-19 pandemic restricting civic space and basic freedoms is still maintained across Asia Pacific, while the leaders of a number of countries continue down the path towards authoritarianism and put their anti-corruption obligations on the back burner. Even New Zealand, which is a regular CPI leader, shows no progress in countering corruption with its performance somehow worsening in ranking over the recent years (in 2017, it was at the top of the ranking, whereas in 2022 it is placed the third).
- Sub-Saharan Africa. The authors of the study point out that the countries of the region constantly fail to demonstrate any significant progress in countering corruption: success of some countries is overshadowed by backsliding or stagnation in others; as a consequence, the region has poor performance as a whole. According to the report, the factors that have an impact on negative corruption perceptions in Sub-Saharan Africa include, among other things, the pandemic, armed conflicts that lead also to capital outflow, unlimited powers of the executive branch, multiple cases of intimidation of activists reporting corruption and abuse of functions by officials etc.
- Middle East and North Africa. Considerable improvement in corruption perceptions is not registered in the countries of this region either, which is primarily due to the tense military and political climate (armed conflicts in Syria, Libya and Yemen), widespread systemic political corruption which is favoured also by the lack of transparency of public spending, as well as assaults on freedom of expression and assembly. Even the countries that are CPI regional leaders are not free from corruption scandals: Qatar, which was placed 35th in 2021 and 40th in 2022, was at the centre of the high-profile case related to its hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup which unveiled bribery of members of the European Parliament.
For reference: the Corruption Perceptions Index has been released by TI annually for 28 years already. As of today, it is one of the most well-known anti-corruption research initiatives.
The CPI is based on expert assessments and surveys of business executives taken from 13 different external studies, for instance, by the World Bank Group, the World Economic Forum, the Asian and African Development Banks and the like, and is designed to indicate the level of corruption perceptions in the public sector. The findings of surveys are equated to a single standard of a 100-point system of assessment, where 100 points mean the lowest level of corruption, according to the respondents, whereas 0 stands for highly corrupt. Based on the findings of the survey, countries are ranked in accordance with the overall score they got.
It should be highlighted that the CPI, like most other rankings measuring the level of corruption, has a number of flaws, which we have repeatedly mentioned.