Corruption in Azerbaijan has worsened during the last year, according to Transparency International’s recently published 2018 Corruption Perception Index (CPI). A large-scale money laundering scheme, whitewashing of poor human rights records and continued repression of civil society and independent media earn the country a place among the top 30 of the world’s most corrupt countries.
The report, a comprehensive study that has been published on an annual basis for more than twenty years, assesses the perceived level of corruption around the globe. Based on the analysis of experts and business people, 180 countries and territories are ranked on a scale from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).
According to the 2018 CPI, the least corrupt country is Denmark, scoring 88 points, while Somalia comes in last with a mere 10 points.
With a score of 25 points, the worst in recent years, Azerbaijan has dropped from rank 122 in 2017 to rank 152.
The reasons for the sharp decline of six points compared to 2017 are the $2.9 billion Azerbaijani Laundromat schemes as well as the government’s continued crackdown on civil society and independent journalism that limits citizens’ participation in public life, the report says.
With more than two-third of all countries scoring below 50 and an average score of just 43, the report highlights the global scale of corruption. It concludes that even though there is progress in some areas, most countries do not take serious steps to fight corruption. disturbing trend is emerging.
The report furthermore illustrates the link between democracy and corruption, suggesting that countries that score low on the CPI also tend to lack stable democratic institutions and neglect the political and civil rights of citizens. No democracies have a score lower than 50, the authors argue, and only very few countries with authoritarian characteristics have a higher ranking.
Eastern Europe and Central Asia is the second lowest-scoring region in the index, with an average score of 35 just three points ahead of Sub-Saharan Africa.
The top performer in the region is Georgia, which managed to improve its score from 52 in 2015 to 58 in 2018. Armenia has had a consistent score of 35 throughout the last few years, while the rating of Azerbaijan has dropped sharply. The country is on par with Tajikistan, and in regional comparison, only Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan score lower.