Corruption has increased over the last three years, say six out of 10 people around the world, and one in four people report paying bribes in the last year. These are the findings of the 2010 Global Corruption Barometer, a worldwide public opinion survey on corruption, released yesterday, International Anti-Corruption Day, by Transparency International (TI).
|The demographics of bribery continue to disadvantage the poor and the young. As in past surveys, lower income earners report paying more bribes than higher income earner
Views on corruption trends are most negative in Europe and North America, where 73 per cent and 67 per cent of people respectively think corruption has increased over the last three years. Despite these results, the survey also found that seven out of 10 people would be willing to report an incident of corruption.
“The fall-out of the financial crises continues to affect people’s opinions of corruption, particular in Europe and North America. Institutions everywhere must be resolute in their efforts to restore good governance and trust,” said Huguette Labelle, Chair of Transparency International.
“It is heartening that so many people are ready to take a stand against corruption. This willingness must be mobilised.”
The 2010 Global Corruption Barometer surveys more than 91,000 people in 86 countries and territories. It focuses on petty bribery, perceptions of public institutions and views of whom people trust to combat corruption.
Petty bribery: regional differences matter
The survey showed that in the past 12 months one in four people paid a bribe to one of nine institutions and services, from health to education to tax authorities. The police are named the most frequent recipient of bribes, according to those surveyed, with 29 per cent of those who had contact with the police reporting that they paid a bribe.
Sub-Saharan Africans report paying the most bribes: more than one in two people report paying a bribe in the past 12 months. This compares to 36 per cent of people surveyed in the Middle East and North Africa, 32 per cent in the Newly Independent states, 23 per cent in Latin America, 19 per cent in the Western Balkans and Turkey, 11 per cent in Asia Pacific and just 5 per cent in European Union countries and North America.
More than 20 countries report significantly more petty bribery than in 2006, when the same question was asked in the Barometer. The biggest number of reported bribery payments in 2010 is in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Cameroon, India, Iraq, Liberia, Nigeria, Palestine, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Uganda where more than 50 per cent of people surveyed paid a bribe in the past 12 months.
Almost half of all respondents say they paid bribes to avoid problems with the authorities and a quarter say it was to speed up processes.
Most worrying is the fact that bribes to the police have almost doubled since 2006, and more people report paying bribes to the judiciary and for registry and permit services than did so five years ago.
Bribery and the poor
The demographics of bribery continue to disadvantage the poor and the young. As in past surveys, lower income earners report paying more bribes than higher income earners. Poorer people are twice as likely to pay bribes for basic services, such as utilities, medical services and education, than wealthier people.
“Corruption is a regressive tax. This injustice must be addressed. The marginalised and poor remain the most vulnerable to extortion. Governments should do more to identify corruption risks in basic services and to protect their citizens,” said Labelle.
A third of all people under the age of 30 report paying a bribe in the past 12 months, compared to less than one in five people over 51 years of age.
Lack of trust in public officials
Sadly, few people trust their governments or politicians. Eight out of 10 say political parties are corrupt or extremely corrupt. The civil service and parliament are considered the next most corrupt institutions.
Half the people questioned say their government’s action to stop corruption is ineffective. This reflects little change over time; however, opinions have worsened slightly since 2007 in Asia Pacific, Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa – while they have improved in the Newly Independent States and North America.
And although a large majority of people – seven out of 10 – say they would report a corrupt act if they saw one, if they are victims of corruption, this drops to about half.
“The message from the 2010 Barometer is that corruption is insidious. It makes people lose faith. The good news is that people are ready to act,” said Labelle. “Better whistleblower protection and greater access to information are crucial. Public engagement in the fight against corruption will force those in authority to act; and will give people further courage to speak out and stand up for a cleaner, more transparent world,” she added.
Transparency International is the global civil society organisation leading the fight against corruption
The Barometer, now in its seventh edition, covers 86 countries. It was carried out between 1 June 2010 and 30 September 2010. Gallup International conducted the survey on behalf of TI in 84 countries. In Bangladesh the survey was conducted by TI Bangladesh and in Mongolia by the Independent Authority against Corruption of Mongolia.
About the Partnering Against Corruption Initiative (PACI)
The World Economic Forum Partnering Against Corruption Initiative is a global anti-corruption initiative developed by the private sector for the private sector. PACI offers a risk-mitigating platform for companies to develop, implement and monitor their anti-corruption programmes. It helps consolidate industry efforts in fighting corruption and shape the evolving regulatory framework. PACI currently counts more than 150 signatory companies representing industry leaders from multiple sectors and regions. For more information, see www.weforum.org/paci.
Global anti-corruption initiatives call for more companies to fight corruption
New York, USA: With an estimated US$ 1 trillion paid in bribes each year, corruption is one of the most pervasive obstacles to social and economic development. There is hardly a government, business or individual that has not been touched, directly or indirectly, by corruption.
In recognition of today’s annual International Anti-Corruption Day, the heads of the key global anti-corruption initiatives, including The World Economic Forum Partnering Against Corruption Initiative (PACI) and Transparency International (TI), along with business leaders, met on Wednesday to discuss how to strengthen cooperation in addressing a challenge that distorts markets, stifles economic growth, hampers democracy and undermines the rule of law.
“Corruption is a challenge that cannot be fought successfully by governments, businesses or non-governmental organisations alone,” said Richard Samans, Managing Director at the World Economic Forum and Chair of the PACI Board.
“We need to collaborate more closely to achieve the shift in behaviour we seek in both the public and private sectors and to recognise companies demonstrating leadership in the fight against corruption.”
According to Transparency International’s 2010 Corruption Perceptions Index, a global corruption ranking by country, “Nearly three-quarters of the 178 countries in the index score below five on a scale from 10 (highly clean) to zero (highly corrupt).”
Certain highly developed countries, such as the United States, France and Italy, fail to make the top 20 list of least corrupt countries. “These results indicate a serious global corruption problem,” said Huguette Labelle, Chair of TI.
“If we aim to root out corruption at every level of society, it will take participation from all players – government, business, civil society organisations and individuals – and it will take sustained commitment.”
At the beginning of November, PACI, UNGC and TI jointly launched End Corruption Now, a Facebook community page created to provide unbiased, non-branded information about the impact of corruption on regions, governments, businesses, non-profit organisations and individuals.
In five short weeks, the Facebook page has garnered more than 1,250 fans and the numbers are increasing every day. “This is further proof that corruption touches everyone and that citizens around the world are calling out for a solution and are ready to join the fight,” said Samans.
Corruption facts and figures
Corruption ranks fourth on a list of the top problematic factors for doing business, according to the World Economic Forum’s Executive Opinion Survey, an annual poll of more than 12,600 respondents from 139 countries used for the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report.
Transparency International’s 2009 Global Corruption Report notes that companies with anti-corruption programmes and ethical guidelines suffer up to 50% fewer incidents of corruption and are less likely to lose business opportunities than companies without such programmes.
Corruption increases the cost of doing business globally, on average, by up to 10%.
- Biggest Transparency International global public opinion survey says masses are ready to get involved to combat corruption
- 11 per cent in Asia Pacific report paying a bribe in the past 12 months