The United Kingdom and the United States may be getting cleaner, but Australia and Brazil are becoming more corrupt, an annual ranking of perceived levels of transparency and honesty has revealed.
The deterioration in the ranking of these two countries was among the more surprising outcomes of Transparency International’s otherwise fairly predictable 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index.
Transparency International is a global anti-corruption organisation, and its annual rankings of 168 countries are widely cited by those countries that do well.
Compared to 2014, Australia slipped two places to 13th place on the list. It’s the fourth year in a row that Australia has fallen, from its peak of a score of 88 out of a possible 100 points – or eighth in the world – in 2011. Its 2015 score was 79, the Transparency International data shows.
Brazil’s fall from grace over the past year was more dramatic. It dropped seven places, to 76th, in the world, scoring a paltry 38 out of 100, a five-point drop from its 2014 score. It was the biggest decliner of the year, according to the data.
In a statement, Transparency International said Brazil’s lower score was attributed in part ot the “unfolding Petrobras scandal” last year, but it noted that the scandal had also “brought people into the streets in 2015”, and that this, and the start of the judicial process, could represent the beginning of a turnaround.
The UK, meanwhile, considerably improved its standing from last year, lifting its score by three points to 81, making it the tenth least-corrupt country in the world. That’s up four places from last year.
As for the US, it improved its score by two points to reach 76, making it the 16th least corrupt country in the world, the Transparency International data showed.
Unsurprisingly the top of the table was dominated by Scandinavian countries, with Denmark taking the top spot, followed by Finland and Sweden. New Zealand was fourth, and the Netherlands and Norway tied in fifth place.
Here are the top ten:
1. Denmark (91)
2. Finland (90)
3. Sweden (89)
4. New Zealand (88)
5= Netherlands (87)
5= Norway (87)
7. Switzerland (86)
8. Singapore (85)
9. Canada (83)
10= Luxembourg (81)
10= United Kingdom (81)
The bottom of the table was just as predictable. Conflict-torn Somalia claimed the accolade of the world’s most corrupt country, followed by North Korea, Afghanistan and Sudan.
Focusing on Western Europe, most nations scored well, Italy being a notable exception, scoring a dismal 41 and taking the unenviable 61st spot, well behind the likes of Cuba, Saudi Arabia and Rwanda.
Barbados, Hong Kong and Ireland took equal 18th equal spot with Japan, while the United Arab Emirates tied with France at number 23. Malta came in at 37.
The map below, provided by Transparency International, shows the results of the survey, with dark red countries the most corrupt, and light yellow the least corrupt.