CPI 2021: With a score of 26, Bangladesh remains the 2nd worst performer in South Asia

Published: 25 January 2022

Dhaka, 25 January 2022: The score of Bangladesh is stagnant for the fourth time at a stretch since 2018 in curbing corruption, according to Transparency International’s (TI) Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2021.

Bangladesh scored 26 out of 100 in the Index, significantly lower than the global average score of 43. The stagnancy of score and position proves that Bangladesh hasn’t fared better in curbing corruption in the country, said TIB.

While launching the Berlin-based anti-corruption organisation’s Index of 180 countries, TIB made the remarks, stressing the need for political integrity, greater accountability, and civil rights and liberties protection.  

 The report shows that Bangladesh ranked at the 13th position from the bottom but retained the same score. It was 12th the previous year with the same score.


The report also shows that like the last year, Bangladesh is again the second-worst performer in curbing corruption among the South Asian countries, with Afghanistan being the worst. 

CPI uses a scale from 0-100 to measure the volume of corruption in a country. The very clean country is indicated by ‘100’ and the highly corrupt by ‘0’. According to experts and business people, the CPI scores 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption.

This year, two African countries, Madagascar and Mozambique, stand alongside Bangladesh in the rank with the same score of 26.

While sharing the CPI 2021 at a virtual press conference, TIB Executive Director Dr. Iftekharuzzaman said, “Bangladesh could have done better in the Index but the abuse of laws like the Digital Security Act, the erosion of political integrity and the dysfunctionality of key institutions are the main reasons behind corruption and criminality in Bangladesh. The policies are elite biased, and the freedom of media and the spaces for civil societies are continually shrinking.”

He further added, “Bangladesh loses 2-3 percent of its GDP to corruption every year. About 89 percent of the surveyed people who were victims of bribery reported that they had to pay bribe because it was impossible to access public services without bribes. Corruption is now a part of our daily lives. As a result, the benefits of development and economic growth are not reaching the common and marginalised people. We have opportunities to overcome this situation as we have laws and political will in place. But a section of the people tasked with curbing corruption immersed in corruption themselves. To overcome this, public interest should be the centre point of all policy discussions and our political culture must be changed.”


Global Highlights of CPI 2021

 As per the report, among the South Asian countries, Bhutan retained its score of 68 and topped the table in the region, while Afghanistan lost 3 points and slipped 9 steps. New Zealand, Singapore, and Hong Kong are the top scorers in the Asia Pacific region, while Cambodia, Afghanistan, and North Korea are the lowest scorers.

The CPI global average remains unchanged at 43 for the tenth year in a row, and two-thirds of countries score below 50. The top nations on the Index are Denmark (88), Finland (88) and, New Zealand (88), all of which also rank in the top 10 per cent in the world on the Democracy Index civil liberties score. Somalia (13), Syria (13) and South Sudan (11) remain at the bottom of the CPI. Syria is also ranked last in civil liberties. 27 countries – among them Cyprus (53), Lebanon (24) and Honduras (23) – are all at historic lows this year.

154 countries have either declined or made no significant progress in the previous decade. Since 2012, 23 countries have significantly declined on the CPI – including advanced economies such as Australia (73), Canada (74) and the United States (67), the latter dropping out of the top 25 countries on the Index for the first time.

Corruption, Human Rights and Democracy

As anti-corruption efforts stagnate and deteriorate, human rights and democracy are under attack. The continued use by governments of the COVID-19 pandemic to erode human rights and democracy could also lead to sharper declines across the globe in the future. Of the 23 countries whose CPI score significantly declined since 2012, 19 also declined on the civil liberties score. Moreover, out of the 331 recorded cases of murdered human rights defenders in 2020, 98 per cent occurred in countries with a CPI score below 45.