poor kids crying 298.88.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Israel continued its steady decline down Transparency International's rankings of the world's corrupt countries, dropping in the rankings for the fifth consecutive year to the rank of 28th in world corruption, according to Corruption Perceptions Index 2005.
Corruption is defined by the index as the abuse of public office for private gain.
The index draws on corruption-related data from surveys carried out by a variety of institutions. It reflects the views of business people and analysts from around the world, including experts who are locals in the countries evaluated.
In 2004 Israel was ranked 26th out of 146 countries, compared to 21st in 2003, 18th in 2002 and 2001, and 16th in 2000, before the Palestinian wave of violence erupted into severe terrorist attacks.
However compared to its Middle Eastern neighbors, Israel fared a great deal better. The Palestinian Authority slipped from 78th place in 2003 to 108th in 2004, to 112th in 2005. Jordan only fell one place to 38th, Syria dropped three slots to 76th, Egypt improved five slots to 72nd and Lebanon jumped from 98th place in 2004 to 82nd place this year.
More than two-thirds of the 159 nations surveyed scored less than 5 out of a clean score of 10, indicating serious levels of corruption in a majority of the countries. Israel scored a 6.3, while it scored a 6.4 last year.
"Corruption is a major cause of poverty as well as a barrier to overcoming it," said Transparency International Chairman Peter Eigen. "The two scourges feed off each other, locking their populations in a cycle of misery. Corruption must be vigorously addressed if aid is to make a real difference in freeing people from poverty."
Research shows that foreign investment is lower in countries perceived to be corrupt, which further thwarts their chances to prosper.
Corruption was perceived as most rampant in Chad, Bangladesh, Turkmenistan, Myanmar and Haiti - also among the poorest countries in the world.
Wealth, however, is not a prerequisite for successful control of corruption. Canada and Ireland both demonstrated a marked increase in the perception of corruption over the past ten years.
Perceived corruption increased from 2004 to 2005 in Costa Rica, Gabon, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Russia, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago and Uruguay.
However, a number of countries showed a decline in perceptions of corruption over the past year, including Estonia, France, Hong Kong, Japan, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Qatar, Taiwan and Turkey.
Chad was perceived to be the most corrupt country surveyed, and Iceland the least corrupt.
With Tal Muscal