Transparency International recently released its 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index. The Index is an excellent tool for identifying geographic areas that generally present corruption-related risks and where companies are likely to encounter corruption-related challenges. Twelve data sources were used to develop the 2014 Index, including ratings and assessments from the African Development Bank, the Economist Intelligence Unit, and the World Bank.

The Index has scores ranging from zero through one hundred, with the low end of the scale indicating a country to be highly corrupt, and a high score suggesting that a country is very clean. No country received a perfect score. Denmark had the highest score with ninety-two. The bottom ten countries were Eritrea, Libya, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iraq, South Sudan, Afghanistan, Sudan, North Korea, and Somalia. The Index notes that “[a] poor score is likely a sign of widespread bribery, lack of punishment for corruption and public institutions that don’t respond to citizens’ needs.” As for geographic regions, Sub-Saharan Africa and Eastern Europe & Central Asia were both at the bottom with scores of thirty-three.

One interesting development reflected in the 2014 Index is that “corruption seems to be getting worse in China.” According to Rukshana Nanayakkara (Regional Outreach Manager for the Asia Pacific Region at Transparency International), China fell four points from forty in 2013 to thirty-six in 2014, and only Turkey fell more. He provides five factors that could explain the drop: not enough transparency, not enough accountability, Chinese officials having the ability to launder proceeds of corruption offshore, a failure to regulate the business sector, and a lack of “bottom-up reform.”