South Africa still hanging in there on the corruption index

The world continues to suffer from the disease of corruption. The Corruption Perceptions Index 2010 just published by Transparency International (TI) last week measures the perceived levels of public sector corruption in 178 countries in the world.

The Index scores countries on a scale of zero to 10, with 0 indicating high levels of corruption and 10 the lowest level of corruption. South Africa is ranked 54th with a score of 4,5. Three quarters of the 178 countries in the index score below 5 out of 10. South Africa is in good company with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the Czech Republic scoring between 4 and 5. However, from a ranking of 46 in 2005, South Africa has slipped somewhat. Zimbabwe is up this year, but it’s all relative!

Hot news is about Russia, slipping from a ranking of 126th in 2005 and 146th in 2009 to 154th this year. There are credible estimates that bribery and corruption in Russia runs to $316-billion a year, more than its federal budget and one-third of GDP. Not surprisingly, the United States of America has slipped too; ranked 19th last year, it is now out of the top 20 at 22. Nancy Boswell, president of TI in USA, said lending practices in the subprime crisis, the disclosure of Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme and fighting over political funding had all rattled public faith about prevailing ethics in America.

This Corruptions Perception Index is not without its detractors and it is always controversial. Twitter has received a rash of comments from patriotic people about countries ranked too high or too low as it is all about perceptions. The survey is an amalgamation of 13 different expert and business surveys conducted between January 2009 and September 2010.

Top of the pile at no. 1 with a joint score of 9,3 are Denmark, New Zealand and Singapore, the more peaceful countries.

Bottom feeders are those with raging wars, unstable governments and often with a legacy of internal conflict; dominated by Afghanistan, Myanmar (Burma) and Somalia, which is stone last.

The index continues to show that businesspeople see public sector corruption as infecting countries around the world. What do you think about this report? Let us have your comments at

Preventing fraud and corruption in supply chains will be the topic of one of the one-day technical workshops being held at the SmartProcurement World Conference 2010, on November 18.

Adapted from the Corruption Perceptions Index 2010 published by Transparency International, the global civil society organisation leading the fight against corruption.

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