February 9, 2021

Highlights From 2020 Transparency International Corruption Perception Index, Showing Widespread Corruption Is Weakening Covid-19-response

The Transparency International Corruption Perception Index ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and business people. The index uses a scale of zero to a hundred, where zero is highly corrupt, and a hundred is very clean. The data shows that despite some progress, most countries still fail to tackle corruption effectively as more than two-thirds of countries score below 50 on the 2020 CPI with an average score of just 43. The top nations on the CPI are Denmark and New Zealand, with scores of 88, followed by Finland, Singapore, Sweden and Switzerland, with scores of 85 each. The bottom countries are South Sudan and Somalia, with scores of 12 each, followed by Syria (14), Yemen (15) and Venezuela (15).

Sub-Saharan Africa had an average score of 32, making it the lowest-performing region on the CPI. The best-performing countries in the area include Seychelles, Botswana, Carbo Verde with scores of 66, 60 and 58 respectively. The worst performers include Sudan (16), Somalia and South Sudan. The region made little improvement from previous years, revealing an urgent need to prioritise anti-corruption efforts. Indeed, corruption has undermined the region’s response to the pandemic as reflected in cases of corruption risks in public procurement and the misappropriation of emergency funds.

Why is this important for your organisation?

Corruption is one of the key risks which firms and government institutions face. Failure to establish rigorous anti-corruption protocols exposes these organisations to the risks of fines and reputational damage. At a societal level, corruption is a severe detriment to the inflow of investments; in Africa, for instance, the implementation of robust anti-corruption mechanisms will be critical to the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). Some steps which can be taken include:


  • Strengthen oversight institutions to ensure resources reach those most in need. Anti-corruption authorities and departments in firms and government agencies must have sufficient funds, resources and independence to perform their duties effectively.
  • Ensure open and transparent procurement practices to combat wrongdoing, identify conflicts of interest and ensure fair pricing.
  • Publish relevant data and guarantee access to information to ensure the public receives easy, accessible, timely and meaningful information

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