Monday, December 10, 2012

Iraq Still Towards The Bottom Of Corruption Index

The German anti-corruption group Transparency International recently released its yearly Corruption Perceptions Index. For the last several years, Transparency has been looking at how corruption is viewed throughout the world. This year’s addition included 174 countries. As usual, Iraq was towards the very bottom of the list.

Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index is a study of how people see corruption in their countries. The group uses a variety of surveys and studies to base their Index upon, and then gives each country a score of 0, highly corrupt, to 100, very clean. Transparency uses studies and surveys, because it believes there is no real way to compare corruption. There is no accurate reporting for example, on how much money officials might steal or how many bribes are demanded each given year. Instead, Transparency uses how citizens in countries feel about their government’s performance. That’s important to know, because it means that the nations at the bottom of the list are not the most corrupt, it’s just those that have the worst reputations amongst their public.

In the 2012 Index, many of the same countries were at the bottom as the last time. Three countries tied for the lowest score this year. Those were Somalia, North Korea, and Afghanistan with a score of 8 each out of 100. In 2011, Somalia and North Korea were tied for the last spot. They were followed by Sudan, Myanmar, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan. Iraq came in at number eight from the end with a score of 18. It was followed by Venezuela, Haiti, Chad, and Burundi who all had a score of 19. Iraq’s ranking was exactly the same as last year. Those were actually a slight improvement from 2006-2010 when Iraq was second from the bottom in 2007 and 2008, and fourth worse in 2009 and 2010. Since the Index is based upon people’s perceptions the change in scores cannot quite be compared year to year since there’s no real way to determine what might make people feel one way and another the next in such a list. Still, the fact that Iraq does so poorly the last several years means its public does not think well of its government.

Transparency International 2012 Corruption Perceptions Index
1. Somalia 8
1. North Korea 8
1. Afghanistan 8
4. Sudan 13
5. Myanmar 15
6. Uzbekistan 17
6. Turkmenistan 17
8. Iraq – 18
9. Venezuela 19
9. Haiti 19
9. Chad 19
9. Burundi 19

Iraq’s Ranking In Corruption Index 2003-2012
2003 #20
2004 #17
2005 #22
2006 #2
2007 #2
2008 tied #2
2009 tied #4
2010 #4
2011 tied #8
2012 #8

Corruption can affect a country in many different ways. In Iraq’s case it permeates the entire government bureaucracy and society. It has been going on for decades, and has become a basic means of governance amongst the ruling parties. It contributes to a lack of economic development and rebuilding, because so much money is siphoned off from contracts. It means a lack of services, or the necessity to bribe officials to receive them. It also affects the quality of the goods and services people receive. Finally, it undermines the public’s confidence in the authorities. Those are the problems that Iraqis have to face everyday, and the reason why their country consistently does so poorly on the corruption index.


Transparency International, “Corruption Perceptions Index 2012,” December 2012

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