Costa Rica ranked 50 out of 183 countries, dropping from No. 41 in 2010, in Transparency International’s new Annual Corruption Perception Index. Costa Rica tied with Lithuania, Oman and the Seychelles and is just above Hungary.
Costa Rica placed just below Rwanda. In the Americas region, consisting of 32 countries, Costa Rica ranked 11.
The Index measures the perceived levels of public sector corruption in 183 countries and territories around the world.
New Zealand, Denmark and Finland top the list, while North Korea and Somalia are at the bottom.
While the Americas in general registered gains, most countries in Central America did score worse than in 2010. Ecuador, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala and Bolivia were viewed as being among the most corrupt countries in the region.
More than two-thirds of the countries did not even make it to the middle of the global ranking – indicating that corruption is a serious problem in those countries. However, on the continent, the report ranked Chile as the least corrupt country in Latin America followed by Uruguay.
The Index draws on assessments and opinion surveys carried out by independent institutions.
The surveys include questions relating to the abuse of public power and focus on: bribery of public officials, kickbacks in public procurement, embezzlement of public funds, and on questions that probe the strength and effectiveness of anti-corruption efforts in the public sector.
Transparency International attributed the decrease in ranks of Central American countries to organized crime:
¨Illegal groups represent a very strong force that weakens a state’s institutions. For drugs, arms and human trafficking to take place, criminal groups need the security forces, the judiciary and other state agencies to remain weak. This results, for example, in criminals going unpunished by prosecutors and judges, and customs officials turning a blind eye.¨
Nicaragua ranked 134 out of 183 countries, dropping from 127 in 2010. In the Americas region, consisting of 32 countries, Nicaragua was positioned at 28.
Panamá ranked 86 out of 183 countries, dropping from 73 in 2010. In the Americas region, Panamá was positioned at 17.