2011 Corruption Perceptions Index: Alarming results in Asia

  Asia’s leading economies may be experiencing high levels of growth, but a lack of anti-corruption measures threatens fair distribution of wealth. Rukshana Nanayakkara, Transparency International’s Senior Programme Coordinator for South Asia, looks at the corruption challenges facing Asia’s emerging economies.

The 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index results are a clear message to governments in Asia Pacific for stringent action to counter corruption. If the 21st century is to truly be Asia’s as predicted, comprehensive actions are needed to increase integrity and structural equality throughout the region. But to do this,  governments and civil society must work together to counter corruption effectively.

The release of the index reveals an alarming level of corruption in the Asia Pacific region’s public sector. The index, which covers 183 states, scores countries on a scale from 0- highly corrupt, to 10- very clean. The majority of countries in the region score lower than five, denoting a serious corruption problem.

Of these countries, quite a number appear at the tail end of the ranks. Although few countries, such as New Zealand, Singapore and Australia, secure places in the top 10, 16 countries in the region score below three. Among others, countries include Vietnam (2.9), Bangladesh (2.7), Philippines (2.6), Pakistan (2.5) and Papua New Guinea (2.2). Afghanistan, Myanmar and North Korea rank bottom globally, with scores of 1.5, 1.5 and 1 respectively.

The emerging economic giants in the region, China and India, rank 75th and 95th. This indicates a lower level of competitiveness in countering corruption in comparison to their economic rivals in northern developed countries such as Germany, Japan Canada and the United States. In China, greater economic freedom has failed to bring along a framework that hinders corruption, posing a serious challenge to sustained economic growth in the country. For example, recent research by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences states that since 1990, a number of high ranking government officials and senior managers of state-owned enterprises have fled the country with stolen assets worth US $123 billion.

Although India boasts a larger democratic space for public activism in countering corruption and opacity, little commitment has been delivered on the government’s part for substantive eradication. The scores reflect these inadequacies, and call on a comprehensive approach for counter measures.

According to figures from the International Monetary Fund, a number of other countries in the region such as Bangladesh, Indonesia, Maldives, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste and Vietnam will see significant economic growth by the end of 2011. Nevertheless, these countries’ poor scores signify clear risks of corruption, resulting in unequal distribution of wealth and potentially lower investors’ confidence in the long run. If this pattern continues, the costs of corruption shall persist, leaving the possibility of both social and political unrest in the region becoming an ever increasing likelihood.

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Rukshana Nanayakkara

About Rukshana Nanayakkara

Rukshana Nanayakkara is Regional Outreach Manager for the Asia Pacific Region at Transparency International.

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9 Responses to 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index: Alarming results in Asia

  1. Anders 2 December 2011 at 7:19 am #

    I would also like to question Singapore’s consistently high rankings. Your FAQ explains that the index is based on perception:

    “Corruption generally comprises illegal activities, which mainly come to light only through scandals, investigations or prosecutions.”

    Singapore has a state controlled media that never reports any scandals. Investigative journalism does hardly exist and people are generally reluctant to publicly voice suspicions against its government.

  2. ken 11 December 2011 at 12:46 pm #

    Anders has spoken what I have in mind. Singaporean are normally will not say ill of their own government even they are not happy. The leader family have received many privileged and many incentive besides the lawful income. These are clearly a policy corruption. It is very obvious but no one say anything in public as he might be end up in jail. Some government officers loan money from contractor but never payback.

    I am not so sure the purpose of this TI. In contrast, it will be used only as a tool in power play.

  3. Read about it here 10 August 2012 at 5:06 pm #

    I was recommended this blog by my cousin. I’m not positive whether or not this post is written by way of him as nobody else understand such particular approximately my difficulty. You are wonderful! Thanks!


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