Corruption Perceptions Index 2023 published
The international anti-corruption organization Transparency International published the current Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) for the year 2023 on 30 January 2024.
- The CPI 2023 indicates a stagnation in the fight against perceived corruption in the public sector As in the previous year, two thirds of the countries surveyed only achieved a score of 50 or less, which is less than half of the maximum achievable score of 100. They therefore exhibited a critical level of corruption. As in previous years, the global average is only 43, while the vast majority of countries have made no progress or even deteriorated over the last ten years. In addition, 23 countries have fallen to their lowest score to date this year.
- Compared to last year, Germany has lost one point and is in ninth place worldwide with 78 points. According to Transparency Germany, the overall development in the fight against corruption in Germany is stagnating; this due to a lack of consistency. The few measures that deserve to be highlighted, such as the introduction of the lobby register, the entry into force of the Whistleblower Protection Act, and new regulations to monitor party funding are offset by a number of shortcomings. For example, there is still a lack of a lobby footprint and therefore a lack of the necessary transparency with regard to the concrete influence of lobbyists on legislation. In Transparency Germany’s opinion, there is also no concrete draft in sight for the urgently needed corporate criminal law.
- Transparency International has identified a strong correlation between weak constitutional state structures and a high level of corruption. The strengthening of anti-democratic forces worldwide is leading to an increase in corruption in the respective countries.
Overview of the Corruption Perceptions Index 2023
The CPI measures perceived corruption in the public sector in business, politics and administration in 180 countries. The countries are rated on a scale from zero points (“higly corrupt”) to 100 points (“very clean”). The index combines 13 individual indices from 12 independent institutions and is based on data from a survey of experts and managers.
The CPI is scored in four steps: Selection of data sources, conversion of the characteristics into a scale from 0 to 100, calculation of the average of these data sources, which is finally supplemented by the standard deviation. The reliability of all data sources is checked according to certain criteria developed by Transparency International. However, this does not rule out the risk of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Therefore, the CPI must always be evaluated with a critical distance: It is not an objective measurement of actual cases of corruption in a country; this would hardly be possible given the very different legal situation and intensity of prosecution. In fact, it is primarily a perception index; and perception is also shaped by compliance risk assessments, which in turn are based on rankings such as the CPI. Accordingly, the expectation of a higher propensity to corruption always determines its perception (bias). Countries in the “global South” therefore run the risk of being rated worse than the situation actually is and, vice versa, a positively distorted picture of the situation in the “global North” could also result.
Corrupt behavior and security threats around the world
As in the two previous years, Transparency International has recorded a worldwide stagnation in the perceived level of corruption and has noted a decline in the global rule of law that began in 2016. This trend is also due to the strengthening of autocratic regimes and the decline in efficient mechanisms for monitoring governments.
Transparency International has identified a strong correlation between countries with weak rule of law structures and a high level of corruption. The global trend towards weakening judicial systems – not only in authoritarian but also in democratically governed countries – leads to less accountability for public officials, which allows corruption to flourish. A lack of law enforcement also appears in countries that rank highly on the CPI, even if this is not reflected in their score. Many cross-border corruption cases involve companies from high-scoring countries that resort to bribery when doing business abroad. Other cases involve business people selling secrets or otherwise supporting corrupt officials abroad.
This year’s CPI shows stagnation or signs of a decline in anti-corruption efforts in all regions. Only 28 out of 180 countries have improved their perceived level of corruption since 2012. This still represents an increase of three countries compared to last year. In contrast, 34 countries have worsened in terms of the perceived level of corruption. There was no change in the CPI for a total of 118 countries and the average CPI was 43, as in the previous year.
To combat corruption, Transparency International recommends governments worldwide to
- strengthen the independence of the judiciary,
- introduce integrity and control mechanisms,
- improve access to justice,
- make the justice system more transparent,
- to promote cooperation within the judiciary, and
- expand the possibilities of criminal prosecution in major corruption cases.
Development of the perception of corruption
The countries of Uzbekistan, Tanzania, Ukraine, Côte d’Ivoire, the Dominican Republic and Kuwait stand out positively in the development of corruption perception in recent years. The CPI for each of these countries has improved by between seven and fifteen points. Sri Lanka, Mongolia, Gabon, Sweden, Guatemala and Turkey have seen the sharpest deterioration in recent years, with losses of between four and eleven points. Russia (26 points, rank 141) has the lowest CPI score since 2012. The Putin regime has also been classified by Transparency International as an “undesirable organization” in 2023. Iran (24 points, rank 149) and Venezuela (13 points, rank 177) also achieve their lowest scores since the current methodology was introduced.
The leaders in the CPI 2023 are once again Denmark (90 points), Finland (87 points), New Zealand (85 points), Norway (84 points), Singapore (83 points) and Sweden (82 points)
Bottom performers in the CPI 2023 ranking are Somalia (11 points), Venezuela, South Sudan and Syria (13 points each). There were hardly any changes within this group compared to the previous year.
Looking at the world regions, the following picture emerges: In Western Europe and the EU, 13% of countries have a CPI below 50, followed by North and South America (66%) the Asia-Pacific region (68%), the Middle East and North Africa (78%), Africa south of the Sahel (90%) and Eastern Europe and Central Asia (95%).
Situation in Germany
With 78 points in ninth place, Germany remains one of the most robust countries in the fight against corruption according to Transparency International. At the same time, Germany has lost one point for the second year in a row. Scandals such as cum-ex, the mask affair and the Azerbaijan affair have highlighted Germany’s weaknesses.
Specifically, Transparency Germany is calling on Germany to implement three projects for 2024 that were already agreed in the coalition agreement: tightening up the law against bribery of MPs, the lobby footprint and the Federal Transparency Act.
Transparency Germany also warns against neglecting the risks of corruption in the German Sustainable Development Strategy. This forms the basis for Germany’s contribution to achieving the global 2030 Agenda. The interim assessment of the implementation of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) discussed at the Federal Chancellery in June 2023 is mixed: Germany is “off track” for at least 39 of the 76 indicators (as of 31.10.2022) and will probably not achieve its commitments if current developments continue. As indicator 16.3a, the German government’s goals also include improving the rating in the Corruption Perceptions Index by 2030 – so far without success. The German strategy of 2016 does refer to the “key function of Goal 16” and thus also the fight against corruption enshrined therein. However, the topic was not mentioned when the mid-term review was presented, even though corruption could undermine the achievement of all other goals.
Impact of the Corruption Perceptions Index for companies
The results of the updated CPI provide important risk indicators for compliance risk analyses and risk-based business partner audits. Both are essential elements of an effective compliance management system. In particular, business relationships in countries whose scores have deteriorated noticeably should be critically reviewed. This is because increased compliance risks may have developed from the worsened perception of corruption.
To the website of Transparency International
To the website of Transparency Germany.