In 2021, the year crossed by the Government’s attempts to reform Justice, the “VIP vaccination” scandal, the impact of the photo of the first lady’s birthday in Olivos during the strict quarantine and questions about the lack of transparency in the purchase of vaccines, Argentina once again worsened in the Corruption Perceptions Index. The bad news for the government of Alberto Fernández was revealed in the latest edition of the indicator prepared by Transparency International and released this morning in Berlin (Germany), the headquarters of this leading non-governmental organization (NGO) in the fight against corruption.
In the second year of management of the Front of All, Argentina obtained 4 points less than in 2020 – 38 out of 100 possible maximums for the most transparent country – below the global average of 43. It thus fell back 18 places and ranked 96 among 180 countries. In 2020, Argentina had obtained 42 points and placed 78th in the ranking.
The best score of our country in the Index was in 2019, when it climbed 19 positions and obtained its best performance since 2012 with 45 points. That last year of Mauricio Macri’s administration, Argentina was ranked 66, thirty places higher than the last Index of 2021. The worst performance it had been in 2015, when it scored just 32 points out of 100, and was ranked 107th out of 168 countries, much closer to the bottom of the table than it is today.
The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) classifies that number of countries and territories according to the level of perception of corruption in the public sector, on a scale of zero for the very corrupt, to one hundred, the maximum score for the cleanest. .
At the top are Denmark, Finland and New Zealand, with 88 points. These three countries also rank in the top ten for civil liberties according to the Democratic Index report. Somalia and Syria, with 13 points, and South Sudan, with 11 out of 100, again obtain the lowest scores in the Index. Syria is also the last country in terms of civil liberties.
“The result for Argentina is bad and it is observed that there is a drop in the perception of those consulted about the level of corruption in the public sector in our country. We believe that this result is influenced by different reasons. In the first place, due to the attempts to reform the justice system, especially the project that tried to modify the Public Prosecutor’s Office. But, especially, the irregular and discretionary beginning of the distribution of vaccines by the Executive Power, and the event of the President’s private party, while restrictions were established on the movement and meeting of citizens, we understand that they can explain this drop in the perception”, analyzed Pablo Secchi, Executive Director of Citizen Power, Argentine chapter of International Transparency.
The situation in America
In the American continent, the ranking is led by the same four countries. Canada is the best positioned with 74 points out of 100, but with a drop compared to the previous year when it had obtained 77. It is followed by Uruguay with 73 points, two more than in 2020 and at the top of the region, and in third place, Chile, which kept the score of 67.
In fourth place in America is the United States, with 67 points, the same as in 2020. However, this country stopped being among the 25 best-qualified countries for the first time.
From South America, above Argentina in the ranking is located – in addition to Uruguay and Chile – Colombia, with 39 points. Brazil obtained the same score as our country (38); Ecuador and Peru, appear with 36, and Bolivia and Paraguay with 30, are located below.
The worst country in the region is again Venezuela in 177th place out of 180 countries. “The government of President Nicolás Maduro has silenced dissent among his political rivals, journalists and even health workers. Over the last decade, the country has seen a considerable drop in the index, with its lowest rating to date, 14 points, in 2021. Transparency International noted.
Nicaragua, the other nation in the region questioned internationally for the violation of human rights and civil liberties, only obtained 20 points, in 167th place.
The global results
According to this new edition of the Corruption Perceptions Index, levels of corruption are stagnant worldwide, with little or no progress in 86% of the countries evaluated in the last ten years. Two thirds of the 180 countries measured do not reach 50 points.
Not only Argentina had a bad performance in 2021. Another 27 countries, such as Cyprus (53), Lebanon (24) and Honduras (23) scored lower than in 2020. In the last decade, 154 countries suffered a deterioration in terms of transparency and perception of corruption in the public sector. Since 2012, 23 countries have fallen in the index, including some advanced economies such as Australia and Japan (both 73 points in the CPI 2021).
The ranking of the 10 most transparent is completed, below Denmark, Finland and New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg – all with more than 80 points – and Germany, which maintained that score compared to last year.
Transparency International identified that countries that violate civil liberties consistently obtain lower scores “Complacency in the fight against corruption gives rise to more serious human rights violations and undermines democracy, thus triggering a vicious spiral. As rights and freedoms are eroded and democracy weakens, authoritarianism advances, which contributes to increasing corruption even more,” said this NGO.
“Human rights are more than desirable in the fight against corruption. Authoritarian models destroy independent checks and balances and make taking action against corruption dependent on the whims of an elite. The only sustainable route to a society free of corruption is to ensure that the population has the opportunity to speak freely and work collectively to hold those in power accountable,” said Argentine lawyer Delia Ferreira Rubio, president of Transparency International.
Delia Ferreira Rubio, president of Transparency International
How the Index is compiled
The IPC annually measures the perception of corruption by businessmen and experts, but only in relation to the behavior of the public sector, that is, in the political and administrative sphere. It is calculated by taking 13 external sources, including the World Bank, the World Economic Forum, private companies specializing in risk analysis, consulting firms and expert committees. The scores reflect the opinions of specialists and businessmen on how they perceive corruption in the State.
To include a country or territory in the index it is necessary that it has been evaluated by a minimum of three sources. The score for each country is determined by calculating the mean of all available standardized scores for that country, rounded to a whole number.
In the case of Argentina, the measurement was made based on eight surveys from different international entities: the Transformation Index of the Bertelsmann Foundation, the Global Insight Country Risk Ratings, the World Competitiveness Yearbook of the International Institute for Management Development ( IMD), The Economist Intelligence Unit Country Ratings, PRS Group’s International Country Risk Guide, Varieties of Democracy Project, World Economic Forum EOS, and World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index.
The questions refer, among other aspects, to the existence of bribes, the diversion of public funds, the lack of criminal punishment or protection for whistleblowers, the mechanisms for obtaining contracts with the State, the prevention of conflicts of interest by part of officials and access to information by citizens on public affairs, among other aspects.
Infographics: Marcelo Regalado
The level of confidence in the Government is 22% lower than when Macri finished his term