Analysis: Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index 2015 & Global Corruption Barometer

  • The 2015 Corruption Perception Index ranks 168 countries/territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption. South Africa ranks 61/186 with a corruption score of 44 (moderately corrupt). Its score of has remained stable from 2014; with a positive 2 scores up from 2013 where SA scored 42/100.
  • The Africa Survey 2015 of the Global Corruption Barometer interviewed 43,143 people in 28 African countries to understand public experiences and perceptions of corruption.
  • 83% of SA respondents said they thought corruption had risen in the previous 12 months.
  • Yet actual bribery rates in SA are far below average, with with less than one in ten respondents saying they paid a bribe in the previous 12 months.
  • Results illustrate the disjuncture between citizens’ personal experience of corruption & their perceptions of government structures not doing enough to stem corrupt activities.

 1.   TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL’S CORRUPTION PERCEPTION INDEX 2015

1.1.      Background

Transparency International released its 21st annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) on Wednesday, 27 January 2016. The CPI is the leading global indicator of public sector corruption, offering a yearly snapshot of the relative degree of corruption by ranking countries from all over the globe.

This year’s index ranks 168 countries/territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption. Countries are measured on a scale from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).[i]

Poor scores are indicative of widespread bribery, lack of punishment for corruption and public institutions that do not respond adequately to citizens’ needs. Countries with clean scores should ensure that they do not export corrupt practices to underdeveloped countries. This index allows government, business and civil society to implement measures to tackle the corruption in their respective countries.

1.2.      Findings 

South Africa ranks 61st of 168 countries with a corruption score of 44 (moderately corrupt) in 2015. Its score has remained stable from 2014; with a positive two scores up from 2013 where South Africa scored 42/100.

How the BRICS Nations Scored

Rank

Country

2015 Score

2014 Score

2013 Score

2012 Score

61

South Africa

44

44

42

43

76

India

38

38

36

36

76

Brazil

38

43

42

43

83

China

37

36

40

39

119

Russia

29

27

28

28

 

 

 

South Africa outranks all its BRICS counterparts. With a score above 40, it is perceived to be the least corrupt of the BRICS nations.

Next 11 Scores

South Africa also does fairly well compared to the Next 11. Only South Korea is perceived as less corrupt with a score of 56.

Rank

Country/territory

2015 Score

2014 Score

2013 Score

2012 Score

37

Korea (South)

56

55

55

56

61

South Africa

44

44

42

43

66

Turkey

42

45

50

49

88

Egypt

36

37

32

32

88

Indonesia

36

34

32

32

95

Mexico

35

35

34

34

95

Philippines

35

38

36

34

112

Vietnam

31

31

31

31

117

Pakistan

30

29

28

27

130

Iran

27

27

25

28

136

Nigeria

26

27

25

27

139

Bangladesh

25

25

27

26

How select African countries fare:

South Africa ranks 7th least corrupt out of the 46 Sub-Saharan African countries included in the Index. It shares this rank with Lesotho and Senegal.

Rank

Country/territory

2015 Score

2014 Score

2013 Score

2012 Score

28

Botswana

63

63

64

65

45

Namibia

53

49

48

48

56

Ghana

47

48

46

45

61

South Africa

44

44

42

43

88

Morocco

36

39

37

37

88

Algeria

36

36

36

34

88

Egypt

36

37

32

32

103

Ethiopia

33

33

33

33

112

Malawi

31

33

37

37

117

Tanzania

30

31

33

35

130

Cameroon

27

27

25

26

136

Nigeria

26

27

25

27

139

Uganda

25

26

26

29

139

Kenya

25

25

27

27

147

DRC

22

22

22

21

150

Zimbabwe

21

21

21

20

163

South Sudan

15

15

14

N/A

163

Angola

15

19

23

22

165

Sudan

12

11

11

13



1.3 Hot Topic: Mapping Corruption Levels in Africa

Hot-Topic

 

As illustrated by the Table and Figure above, corruption poses a serious challenge in sub-Saharan Africa, with 36 of the 46 countries surveyed in the region scoring below 40. Most countries score particularly badly on rule of law and justice. “While some governments are reducing risks for business, there’s little change for citizens – as systemic corruption leaves many countries struggling to uphold basic rule of law.”

2.   South Africa’s Performance in the Afrobarometer/Transparency International Global Corruption Barometer 2015

2.1. Background

Transparency International has partnered with the Afrobarometer to produced the Africa Survey 2015 of the Global Corruption Barometer.[i]

Unlike the Corruption Perception Index, which measures and ranks 175 countries based to perceptions of public sector corruption, the Africa Survey measures perceptions of corruption in the following sectors: the political and government elite (the president’s office, members of parliament, government officials), public officials who work at the service level (tax officials, the police, judges and magistrates, local government councillors), and those who are not part of the public sector but who often wield strong influence (business executives, religious leaders and traditional leaders).[ii]

In only three of the countries surveyed did a slight majority of the population think their governments were doing well at well at fighting corruption, namely Botswana, Lesotho and Senegal.

2.2. Public perceptions of corruption levels

The survey asked respondents how they thought corruption in their country had changed over the past year, i.e. whether it had increased, decreased or stayed the same. Unfortunately, South Africa (along with Nigeria and Ghana) performed worst in this category,with 83% of respondents saying that they thought corruption had risen in the previous 12 months.

Figure 1 below depicts the best and worst performing countries in terms of population perceptions of corruption over time.

Figure 1: Perceptions of corruption movement over 12-month period

Best-and-Worst-performers

2.3. Public Perceptions of government anti-corruption measures

 Figure 2 below shows that Malagasy citizens were most critical of their governments. However, South Africa, doesn’t fall far behind, with approximately four of five respondents rating government’s anti-corruption efforts poorly.

Figure 2: Perceptions of government performance in fighting corruption

Perception-of-govt-performance

2.4. Perception vs. Reality

At the same time, the survey also asked respondents whether they had been exposed to corruption risks in the past 12 months when engaging with six key public services: public schools, public healthcare, the police, courts, for official documents or for utilities. If they had come into contact with these services, they were asked whether “they had paid a bribe, given a gift or provided a favour in order to get the services they needed”.

Here, South Africa ranks below the regional average in terms of bribery rates, with with less than one in ten respondents saying they had paid a bribe.

Figure 3: Percentage of Public Service Users that had paid bribes

Bribes

2.5. Citizens’ role in stemming corruption

The survey also gauged the extent to which citizens believed that they could make a difference to the levels of corruption in their countries. The authors state that: “Citizens should be able to play an important role in turning the tide against corruption – either through reporting corruption when they see it, refusing to pay bribes, or demanding governments take action against the corruption that they see in their country.”

South Africans, much like the rest of their African counterparts, are divided on whether they can make a difference in stemming corruption, with many feeling disempowered (56% are optimistic, yet 44% remain sceptical). See Figure 4 below.

Figure 4: Citizens’ ability to stem corruption

Figure-4-Citizens-ability-to-stem-corruption

2.6. Lessons for Brand SAThe Africa Survey 2015 attests to citizens’ relatively negative perception of government performance in combatting corruption. More interestingly, this perception rests less on personal experience of corruption with public service entities (e.g. having to pay bribes for services), as the majority interviewed here had not paid a bribe in the 12 months prior to participating in the survey.

The implications of this finding point to two pertinent questions for Brand SA to consider:
• The Global Corruption Barometer reveals an apparent disjuncture between citizens’ personal experience of corruption and their perceptions of the government structures not doing enough to stem corrupt activities. Perhaps this is an indication of a distinction that is made between “low level” and “high level” corruption. At the “high level”, perceptions of excessive “tenderpreneurship” – which enables those with the political influence to secure lucrative government contracts – prevail. At the lower level, it appears that most South African citizens interviewed had little personal exposure to corruption when engaging with key public services.

• The Corruption Perception Index marks the country as “moderately corrupt”, and put into comparative perspective against BRICS counterparts, the Next 11 or its continental neighbours, South Africa does relatively well. That said, if SA wishes to be globally competitive, we should also be competing with the likes of South Korea and the UAE to shift perceptions of public and private sector institutions to encourage investment and build trust in leadership.


Prepared by: Dr. Judy Smith-Höhn
 

 

Brand South Africa’s Research Notes, Research Reports and Web Analyses communicate findings from Brand South Africa research, related panel discussions and analyses of global performance indices. The publications are intended to elicit comments, contribute to debate, and inform stakeholders about trends and issues that impact on South Africa’s reputation and overall competitiveness.

Views expressed in Research Notes, Reports and Analyses are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of Brand South Africa, or the Government of the Republic of South Africa. Every precaution is taken to ensure the accuracy of information. However, Brand South Africa shall not be liable to any person for inaccurate information or opinions contained herein.

Contacts

Dr Petrus de Kock – General Manager Research – petrusd@brandsouthafrica.com

Dr Judy Smith-Höhn- Research Manager – judys@brandsouthafrica.com

Ms Leigh-Gail Petersen – Researcher – leigh@brandsouthafrica.com

 


Endnotes

 

[i] The index draws on 12 different data sources from 11 institutions that capture expert assessments and views of businesspeople of corruption nwithin the past two years. For the first time this year, TI also analysed statistically significant changes in CPI scores for countries over a three-year time period by comparing their CPI scores between 2012 and 2015. Twelve data sources were used to construct the Corruption Perceptions Index 2015, namely: 1) African Development Bank Governance Ratings 2014, 2) Bertelsmann Foundation Sustainable Governance Indicators 2015, 3) Bertelsmann Foundation Transformation Index 2016; 4) Economist Intelligence Unit Country Risk Ratings 2015; 5) Freedom House Nations in Transit 2015; 6) Global Insight Country Risk Ratings 2014; 7) IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2015; 8) Political and Economic Risk Consultancy Asian Intelligence 2015; 9) Political Risk Services International Country Risk Guide 2015; 10) World Bank – Country Policy and Institutional Assessment 2014; 11) World Economic Forum Executive Opinion Survey (EOS) 2015; and 12) World Justice Project Rule of Law Index 2015

 

[ii] A total of 43,143 respondents across 28 sub-Saharan African countries were interviewed from March 2014 to September 2015 to gauge their experiences and perceptions of corruption in their respective countries.

[iii] See Africa Survey, pg. 8

[iv] See Africa Survey 2015, pg.12.