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As pillars of democracy, justice and the rule of law play a pivotal role in combating corruption globally. In the face of declining justice and the rise of authoritarianism, Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) for 2023 which was published on January 30, 2024 provides a crucial lens into the prevalence of corruption across 180 countries.


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As pillars of democracy, justice and the rule of law play a pivotal role in combating corruption globally.  In the face of declining justice and the rise of authoritarianism, Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) for 2023 which was published on January 30, 2024 provides a crucial lens into the prevalence of corruption across 180 countries. For more detailed insights, you can explore the 2023 Corruption Perceptions Index on Transparency International’s website.

This index ranks 180 countries based on perceived public-sector corruption, utilising a scale of zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).  Strong rule of law and well-functioning democratic institutions correlate with higher scores, while conflict, restricted freedoms and weak democratic institutions contribute to lower scores. 

The world has witnessed a concerning decline in justice and the rule of law since 2016, driven by factors such as the rise of authoritarianism and weakening mechanisms that keep governments accountable.  The 2023 CPI indicates that only 28 out of 180 countries have improved their corruption levels in the past twelve years, while 34 countries have significantly worsened. 

Despite efforts to criminalise corruption and establish specialised institutions, corruption levels remain stagnant globally.  

When justice systems face challenges, such as weakness, dysfunction, or lack of independence, the risk of corruption and impunity increases. However, robust AML (Anti-Money Laundering) solutions play a crucial role in promoting transparency and accountability. 

Western Europe and European Union 

Despite being the top-scoring region in the Corruption Perceptions Index, Western Europe and the EU face challenges as the average score drops for the first time in almost a decade to 65 out of 100.  While robust anti-corruption measures persist, the weakening of checks and balances erodes political integrity, diminishing public trust in the region’s ability to address ongoing challenges.  Notably, high-ranking democracies like Sweden, Netherlands, Iceland and the United Kingdom record their lowest-ever scores, signalling a concerning trend.  The erosion of accountability and political corruption undermines the rule of law, with some narrow interest groups exerting excessive control over political decision-making.  Governments in the region, in the most alarming cases, target journalists, whistleblowers and watchdogs, further jeopardising transparency and accountability. 

Eastern Europe and Central Asia 

Eastern Europe and Central Asia face a troubling scenario marked by a dysfunctional rule of law, rising authoritarianism and systemic corruption.  With an average score of 35 out of 100, the region stands as the second lowest-scoring globally.  Democratic backsliding and weakened justice systems undermine efforts to control corruption, as institutions like the police, prosecutors and courts struggle to investigate and punish abuses of power.  The region faces increasing poverty levels due to war and inflation, necessitating urgent action from leaders to strengthen the rule of law, protect rights and uphold democracy.  While some countries have significantly improved their CPI scores over the last decade, others have stagnated or declined, emphasising the need for sustained efforts against corruption. 

Middle East and North Africa

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) witness a loss of momentum in anti-corruption efforts, leading to diminishing public trust and a reactive rather than preventative approach to fighting corruption.  Political corruption remains high, impeding access to essential services such as health and education, and threatening citizens’ right to life.  With only seven years left to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the region struggles due to inadequate infrastructure and national integrity systems.  The CPI 2023 reveals an average score of 34 out of 100 for Arab States, indicating a long road ahead in ensuring integrity and justice. Widespread corruption undermines progress, exacerbating social inequalities and hindering the pursuit of SDGs. 

Asia Pacific 

The Asia Pacific region faces another year of little to no meaningful progress in curbing corruption, with the average CPI score stagnating at 45 out of a possible 100 for the fifth consecutive year.  A majority of countries in the region score below 50, reflecting challenges in delivering on anti-corruption agendas and crackdowns on civil society.  The Pacific region, while experiencing geopolitical tensions between China and the West, grapples with weak governance systems, exposing substantial investments to a high risk of corruption.  Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer highlights corruption prevalence around election processes in the region, underscoring the serious implications for trustworthy governance.  The lack of progress in scores suggests the need for a concerted effort to address corruption and protect democratic values in the Asia Pacific. 

Sub-Saharan Africa 

Sub-Saharan Africa presents mixed results in the 2023 CPI, with notable improvements in a few countries but overall immobility, maintaining a consistently poor performance with an average score of 33 out of 100.  Despite a regional acknowledgment of corruption as a critical issue, the CPI underscores a long journey in the fight against corruption.  The region’s persistent challenges stem from decades of severe underfunding in public sectors, exacerbated by corruption and illicit financial flows.  Addressing social and economic issues proves ineffective, particularly at the expense of the most vulnerable populations.  The CPI highlights the importance of anti-corruption efforts at all levels and by multiple stakeholders within the justice network to address the deep-rooted challenges in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

Americas 

With two-thirds of countries in the region scoring under 50 out of 100 on the CPI, the Americas face considerable challenges in the fight against corruption.  A lack of independence of the judiciary is a major issue, undermining the rule of law and promoting impunity for the powerful and criminals.  In Latin America and the Caribbean, opacity and undue influence render many justice systems incapable of applying the law effectively.  This incapacity jeopardises the fundamental role of justice systems as checks on other branches of government, vital for well-functioning democracies.  The sense of impunity and the inability of prosecutors and judges to proceed impartially significantly impact public trust in the judiciary, discouraging reporting as the institution is perceived as corrupt and unreliable.  Vulnerable groups are particularly affected, experiencing discrimination when seeking justice.  

Impact on cleversoft’s Country Risk Scores

The CPI 2023 had a minor but significant impact on cleversoft’s Country Risk Scores. Among the countries assessed,   Greece is the only country experiencing a change with a grading of Medium from the previous assessment of low.   

cleversoft Services 

In addition to our existing services, cleversoft also offers an AML (Anti-Money Laundering) Solution. This solution is designed to help organizations detect and prevent money laundering activities by analyzing financial transactions, identifying suspicious patterns, and ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements. If you’d like more information about our Financial Crime Prevention Services, please visit our website Feel free to reach out to our dedicated Sales team via the contact form on our website.