http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/260229

Corruption Creating Humanitarian Disasters, Says Int'l Watchdog Agency

Posted Sep 23, 2008 by Johnny Simpson
Corruption in poor countries has created humanitarian disasters which threaten to derail the global fight against poverty, Transparency International said as it released its annual Corruptions Perceptions Index. The CPI includes other surprises as well.
Sudan Man Carries Air-Dropped Food Bag
A villager carries a food supply bag air-dropped by the World Food Programme (WFP) aircrafts
UN Photo/Fred Noy
From Reuters:
Releasing its annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) on Tuesday, the anti-corruption watchdog said donor countries should address the problem by carefully targeting aid.
The index ranks 180 countries according to perceived levels of public sector corruption. The CPI scores countries on a zero to 10 scale, with zero indicating high levels of corruption and 10, low levels.
For the second year running, Somalia, Myanmar and Iraq received the poorest marks, with Somalia scoring 1.0 and Myanmar and Iraq scoring 1.3 each.
Transparency International (TI) chair Huguette Labelle called the high levels of corruption in low-income countries a "humanitarian disaster".
"Stemming corruption requires strong oversight through parliaments, law enforcement, independent media and a vibrant civil society," Labelle said in a statement.
"When these institutions are weak, corruption spirals out of control with horrendous consequences for ordinary people, and for justice and equality in societies more broadly."
The Berlin-based watchdog estimated that unchecked levels of corruption would add $50 billion -- or nearly half of annual global aid outlays -- to the cost of achieving the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals on combating poverty.
At the high end of the scale are Denmark, Sweden and New Zealand, each with stellar 9.3 ratings, the highest in the survey.
Here are links to the 2008 CPI survey report and the Transparency International home page at www.transparency.org.
Perhaps the most prominent of the lowest three is Iraq at 1.3 (ranked at #178 of 180), which has received untold billions in US aid for reconstruction and security. Afghanistan is ranked #176, at 1.5.
The United States ranks 18th on the list, tied with Belgium and Japan at a modest 7.3.
The United Kingdom saw its score dip from 8.4 to 7.7, based primarily on the December 2006 decision to discontinue a criminal investigation of British defence firm BAE Systems in relation to a contract in Saudi Arabia.
Statistically significant declines were also seen in 2008 in Bulgaria, Burundi, Maldives, Norway.
On a positive note, significant improvements were seen in Albania, Cyprus, Georgia, Mauritius, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, South Korea, Tonga and Turkey.
Here are some other figures from nations of interest (ranked from 1-180):
Singapore is ranked 4th at 9.2, the highest in Asia.
India is ranked at #85 with a 3.4 mark.
China is ranked at #72 with a 3.6.
Canada is tied for 9th with Australia at a lofty 8.7, far higher than its US neighbor.
Hugo Chavez' Venezuela is in an eight-way tie at #158 with Burundi, The Congo, Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau, Gambia, Azerbaijan and Angola at 1.9. This is the lowest ranking of any Central or South American country besides Haiti, which comes in at #177 with a lowly 1.4 rating.
Of middle Eastern countries, Qatar ranked highest at #28 with a 6.5 rating.
Iran is ranked #141 at 2.3.
By contrast, Israel is ranked #33 with a 6.0 rating.
A lot more great info at the links provided above.
For real info junkies, here is the 2007 CPI report posted last year by DJ staff.