Transparency International has released its Corruption Perceptions Index 2017. It is list of countries that are ranked according to their perceived levels of public sector corruption based on information received from experts and business people within the countries. The Index uses a scale of 0 to 100, with 0 being the most corrupt and 100 being corruption free. According to Transparency International, the latest index indicates that “the majority of countries are making little or no progress in ending corruption, while further analysis shows journalists and activists in corrupt countries risking their lives every day in an effort to speak out…. This year, the index found that more than two-thirds of countries score below 50, with an average score of 43.” For 2017, New Zealand and Denmark ranked highest with scores of 89 and 88 respectively. Syria, South Sudan and Somalia ranked lowest with scores of 14, 12 and 9 respectively. The best performing region is Western Europe with an average score of 66. The worst performing regions are Sub-Saharan Africa (average score 32) and Eastern Europe and Central Asia (average score 34).” Transparency International says that countries with the least protection for press and non-governmental organizations tend to have the worst rates of corruption as every week , at least one journalist is killed in a country that is highly corrupt. The analysis, which incorporates data from the Committee to Protect Journalists, shows that in the last six years, more than 9 out of 10 journalists were killed in countries that score 45 or less on the index.
Belize is not included in the 2017 list of countries and has not been included since 2009. According to the Transparency International website, countries are only included in the index if at least three sources of data for that country are available. Belize is the only country in Central America not included. In fact, if you take a look at the map of the Americas found on Transparency International’s webpage, Belize and French Guiana are the only countries with no color code ranking in the Americas. There is only an empty white space where Belize is located on the map. In December 2016, Belize did become the 184th country to sign on to the United Nations convention against Corruption.