According to the 2018 Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index, Estonia is one of the least corrupt countries in the world, having been ranked 18th among 180 countries.
The 180 countries in the index are given a score from zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). Estonia’s score in the 2018 index is 73, having improved from 2017 (71) and 2016 (70).
No country scores the perfect 100. The closest to the perfect score is Denmark with 88, followed by New Zealand (87) and Finland (85). Singapore, Sweden and Switzerland also scored 85. Norway scored 84, the Netherlands 82, and Canada and Luxembourg both 81.
Lithuania is ranked 38th in the index with the score of 59, and Latvia is 41st with the score of 58. Russia is 138th with the score of 28.
Countries fail to control corruption
The world’s most corrupt country is Somalia, ranked 180th with the score of 10. It’s preceded by Syria and South Sudan, both having scored 13.
According to Transparency, more than two-thirds of countries score below 50 on this year’s index, with an average score of just 43.
The index “reveals that the continued failure of most countries to significantly control corruption is contributing to a crisis in democracy around the world”, Transparency noted. “While there are exceptions, the data shows that despite some progress, most countries are failing to make serious inroads against corruption.”
“In the last seven years, only 20 countries significantly improved their CPI scores, including Estonia, Senegal, Guyana and Côte D’Ivoire,” Transparency said. “Equally troubling, 16 countries significantly decreased their scores, including Australia, Chile, Malta, Hungary and Turkey.”
Estonia now ranks higher than the US
Estonia, notably, is ranked higher than the United States (22nd with the score of 71). Only last year, the US scored 75, higher than Estonia.
The index also points out that the scores for Hungary and Turkey decreased by eight and nine points respectively over the last six years. “At the same time, Turkey was downgraded from ‘partly free’ to ‘not free’ by Freedom House, while Hungary registered its lowest score for political rights since the fall of communism in 1989.”
“Throughout the world, political leaders who run on a populist platform are gaining power and undermining democracy. High corruption rates can contribute to increased support for populist candidates.”
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: The map of the 2018 Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index.