For the second year running, Switzerland has been ranked third, tying Finland, Sweden and Singapore, in Transparency International’s (TI) 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index that focuses on public sector corruption.
Denmark came first in the watchdog’s annual indexexternal link, published on Tuesday, as the least corrupt nation followed by New Zealand. The study analyses perceptions by business people and experts of the level of corruption in each country’s public sector.
Somalia was rated the most corruptexternal link, followed by Syria and South Sudan. Since 2012, only 20 countries have significantly improved their scores and 16 have significantly declined.
The United States slid four points lower, dropping out of the top 20 countries for the first time since 2011.
The 2018 Index also conducted a cross analysis with various democracy indices and found a clear link between having a healthy democracy and successfully fighting public sector corruption. In a press release, the NGO stated that “the continued failure for countries to significantly control corruption is contributing to a crisis of democracy around the world”.
Room to improve
Switzerland has featured among the top seven countries for the past three years. However, there is still room for improvement in reducing corruption, the NGO notes.
“Switzerland has serious shortcomings in key areas of anti-corruption work that are not included in the index, such as money laundering, whistleblower protection and corruption in the private sector and sport," it said in a statement.external link
In recent years, Swiss banks and other financial intermediaries and enablers have been caught up in large money laundering and corruption scandals around the world, such as those linked to 1MDB in Malaysia or Odebrecht and Petrobas in Brazil.
Transparency International used surveys and evaluations to measure public sector corruption in 180 countries and territories, giving each a score ranging from zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very little corruption). The index does not take into account the public's perception of corruption or the corruption problems encountered in the private sector or political party financing, for example.