According to the 2016 Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index, Estonia is doing fairly well, having been ranked 22nd with the score of 70 out of 100.
With 176 countries in the index, none achieved a perfect score of 100 (very clean). In fact, over two thirds of the countries and territories ranked in the 2016 index “fall below the midpoint” of the scale, with the global average score being 43, “indicating endemic corruption in a country’s public sector”, Transparency International said.
The good news is, Estonia is doing a lot better than most of its neighbours – Latvia is ranked 44th with the score of 57; Lithuania 38th (59); and Russia 131st (29). Only Finland and Sweden have been ranked higher, (3rd, 89; and 4th, 88, respectively).
Corruption and inequality feeds populism
Transparency said this year’s results highlighted “the connection between corruption and inequality, which feed off each other to create a vicious circle between corruption, unequal distribution of power in society, and unequal distribution of wealth”.
“The interplay of corruption and inequality also feeds populism. When traditional politicians fail to tackle corruption, people grow cynical. Increasingly, people are turning to populist leaders who promise to break the cycle of corruption and privilege. Yet this is likely to exacerbate – rather than resolve – the tensions that fed the populist surge in the first place,” according to the organisation.
Even though more countries declined than improved in the 2016 results, Estonia has steadily improved its score across the years leading up to 2015 – 64 in 2012, 68 in 2013, 69 in 2014 and 70 in 2015.
The least corrupt countries in the world are Denmark and New Zealand, both having scored 90. In addition to them and the aforementioned Finland and Sweden, the top 10 also includes Switzerland, Norway, Singapore, the Netherlands and Canada. Germany, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom were all ranked 10th.
Transparency International is an international non-governmental organisation, based in Berlin, Germany. Its non-profit purpose is to combat corruption and prevent criminal activities arising from corruption.
Cover image courtesy of Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index.