Press release 23rd Jan 2020

Two thirds of countries show no major improvement in global corruption index – UK position stagnates with slight drop

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London, January 23 2020 – More than two-thirds of countries – along with many of the world’s most advanced economies – are not improving or are showing signs of backsliding in their anti-corruption record, according to the 2019 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) released today by Transparency International. The UK’s score has also stagnated, with the country remaining outside of the top 10 globally.

The CPI is the leading global indicator of public sector corruption. It scores and ranks countries based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be by experts and business leaders.

This year’s results paint a discouraging picture of the state of corruption worldwide. Since 2012, only 22 countries have significantly improved their score while 21 have significantly declined. The remaining countries have made little or no progress in the fight against corruption.

New Zealand and Denmark top the latest rankings, while Syria, South Sudan and Somalia performed the worst.

This year’s results see the UK’s score fall to 77, down from 80 in 2018 and 82 in 2017. This leads to a drop from rank 11 to 12. The change has been driven by global business leaders’ perceptions of public sector corruption in the UK. While the overall change is modest it does indicate an absence of any major improvement.


Daniel Bruce, Chief Executive of Transparency International UK, said:

“These results are a stark reminder that there is no room for complacency in the fight against global corruption. While the UK made some significant strides to tackle dirty money in recent years, it is deeply concerning to see its score relating to perceived public sector corruption stagnating. The new Government now has an opportunity to pull the UK back into the top 10. To do so it will need considerable ambition that will put anti-corruption front and centre of public policy both at home and abroad.

“As the UK prepares to become a global trading economy outside of the European Union, reclaiming our place as a world leader in the fight against corruption is more important than ever. Doing business in emerging markets – all of which scored significantly lower than the UK – is a potentially lucrative opportunity, but carries a heightened risk for British companies. If the UK tackles bribery and other corruption risk with greater vigour, then it will benefit both businesses here in the UK and well as people in countries feeling the worst impacts of corruption. Corruption costs lives and destroys many more; now is not the time to neglect the challenge this presents.”


Countries in which elections and political party financing are open to undue influence from vested interests are less able to combat corruption, analysis of the results finds.

Countries where campaign finance regulations are comprehensive and systematically enforced have an average score of 70 on the CPI, whereas countries where such regulations either don’t exist or are poorly enforced score an average of just 34 and 35 respectively.

Sixty per cent of the countries that significantly improved their CPI scores since 2012 also strengthened regulations around campaign donations.

Globally, more than two-thirds of countries score below 50, with an average score of only 43. Since 2012, only 22 countries have significantly improved their scores, including Estonia, Greece and Guyana. Twenty-one have significantly declined, including Australia, Canada and Nicaragua.

The research shows several of the most advanced economies cannot afford to be complacent if they are to keep up their anti-corruption momentum. Four G7 countries score lower than last year: Canada (-4), France (-3), the UK (-3) and the US (-2). Germany and Japan have seen no improvement, while Italy gained one point.


Notes to editors:

The CPI is a ‘poll of polls’ which brings together and standardises data from 12 independent sources such as the World Bank, World Economic Forum, and the Economist’s Intelligence Unit. More information is available here –

The CPI measures perceived levels of corrupt practices such as bribery, the use of public office for private gain, and the diversion of public funds.



Harvey Gavin

+44 (0)20 3096 7695

+44 (0)79 6456 0340