Taiwan ranks 29th least corrupt on global corruption index

Transparency International's 2017 Corruption Perception Index. (Photo courtesy of Transparency International)

Taipei, Feb. 22 (CNA) Taiwan ranked 29th on Transparency International’s 2017 Corruption Perception Index, up two spots from its 2016 ranking with a score of 63, marking a six-year high.

The Berlin-based international coalition against corruption released Wednesday its 2017 Corruption Perception Index, an annual ranking of countries based on perceived levels of corruption, which found “a high corruption burden in more than two-thirds of the countries surveyed,” the report shows.

Taiwan’s score of 63 out of 100, where 0 represents highly corrupt and 100 represents very clean, puts it above both the global average and the regional average for the Asia-Pacific region of 43 and 44, respectively.

Both Portugal and Qatar also received a score of 63, making it a three-way tie at No. 29.

Regionally, Taiwan is ranked seventh among the 31 countries and territories in the Asia-Pacific region, where more than half of the countries scored less than 50.

According to Transparency International, there has been little progress made in tackling corruption in the Asia-Pacific region, with only a few countries having “experienced small, incremental changes indicating signs of improvement” in the past six years.

Taiwan’s own score has been pretty stagnant since 2012, during which it received a score of 61, which persisted until 2015, when it jumped to 62 before dropping again to 61 in 2016.

Although the report did not address specific developments in Taiwan that contributed to the 2017 score, it did give four recommendations for improvement for the region generally.

These are: putting in place laws and institutions that will prevent corruption from happening in the first place; reducing impunity for the corrupt; improving space for civil society to speak out; and improving integrity and values.

Globally, even leading country New Zealand did not achieve a perfect score.

The highest score this year, given to New Zealand, was 89, followed by Denmark at 88, Finland, Norway and Switzerland at 85, Singapore and Sweden at 84, Canada, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom at 82, and Germany rounding out the countries scoring in the 80s at 81.

Meanwhile, countries and territories that performed the worst include Angola and Turkmenistan at 19, Iraq and Venezuela at 18, North Korea, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea Bissau and Libya at 17, Sudan and Yemen at 16, Afghanistan at 15, Syria at 14, South Sudan at 12, and Somalia at 9.

(By Kuan-lin Liu and Lin Hong-han)