Transparency International’s 2010 report is out. The report, compiled by the Berlin-based group, measures the public perception of corruption in the public sector, covers 178 countries around the world.

Check out the interactive “corruption map”. No surprises: the Third World is winning here, with large dots (the deeper the red, the more corrupt the nation) indicating that the public’s “perception of corruption” in the respective nation is very high.

What’s interesting is that in the nations with the most money in “play”, where there have been some significant financial seismic activity (the Big One that brought down the markets in the past year, for instance), the perception of corruption is low-to-nil.

The Transparency International report will merely supports this view – Africa was found to be the “most corrupt region in the world,” with six African nations among the 10 most corrupt countries: Somalia (the most corrupt), Sudan, Chad, Burundi, Angola and Equatorial Guinea. (Botswana is ranked as the “least corrupt” African nation.)

While I’m not questioning the existence of corruption in afore-accused nations, I wonder why those in economically powerful nations, who bilk their publics out of millions in legally untouchable ways – or have helped create laws that allow them to get kickbacks via loopholes in regulations – will never inspire their own people’s perception of corruption on the scale that Africa does.

Though Britain frequently yammers out advice/harangues to its former colonies, last year found their own Members of Parliament culottes-deep in the public sweeties-jar. Happily, the world now views Britain as more corrupt “since the MP’s expenses scandal “

The TI report reveals that “Britain has dropped dramatically to 20th in a league table of countries perceived to be the cleanest in the world.”

The US is not even included in this survey. But I’ll bet that if we ask a random group of Americans, they will still imagine that “Africa” is corrupt.

Further Reading

No more caricatures

Engaging seriously with Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s life could help us understand how South Africa got where it is and where it’s going.