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2nd Annual Most Corrupt BRICS Country Award

2nd Annual Most Corrupt BRICS Country Award

South Africa will host the fifth BRICS Summit from 26 to 27 March 2013 at the Durban International Convention Centre (ICC), photo courtesy of

It’s that time of year again. Another 12 months has flown by. Companies and organizations are celebrating their 2012 achievements and are looking for areas of improvement in 2013. Offices, malls and schools are filled with holiday music and lights. South Africa is no different, but there is some stress, as they prepare to host the 5th Annual BRICS Summit in Durban on 26-27 March 2013.

The big talk at the 2013 Summit is expected to be Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa creating a BRICS development bank designed to complement existing global financial institutions like the World Bank. The idea of the bank is already agreed, but now the five countries need to iron out the finer details such as its legal status, how it will run, and its exact purpose.

Jim O’Neill wrote this week that he expects all the BRIC countries (leaving out South Africa) will perform better in 2013 than 2012, although it might not be dramatically better than expectations. “Collectively, we are expecting the BRIC countries to grow by 6.9 per cent up from a probable 6.1 per cent in 2012,” the chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management stated.

As the BRICS countries continue to grow economically and politically, they also continue to struggle with the issue of corruption. Last year I gave out the First Annual Most Corrupt BRICS Country Award after analyzing Transparency International’s (TI) Bribe Payers Index (BPI) and its annual Corruption Perception Index (CPI). Unfortunately there is no BPI this year, but the show must go on, and TI recently released its results for the 2012 CPI.

The 2011 CPI scored 183 countries and territories from zero (highly corrupt) to 10 (very clean) based on survey factors such as enforcement of anti-corruption laws, access to information and conflicts of interest. South Africa was the 2011 leader of the BRICS, meaning least corrupt with a 4.1 out of the 10, putting them 64th out of 183. This was followed by Brazil (3.8/10 = 73rd out of 182 countries), China (3.6/10- 75th out of 182), India- (3.1/10 = 95th out of 182) 
and last but not least, Russia- (2.4/10 =143rd out of 182).

We see some change in 2012. Firstly, the survey was of 176 countries, and the figures changed slightly from zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). Rounding the 2012 figures down to out of 10 for comparison sake, all of the BRICS counties have shown improvement. South Africa is now at 4.3, up from 4.1 in 2011. However, Brazil made an even larger leap from a score of 3.8 to 4.3. This means Brazil and South Africa are now tied for the least corrupt BRICS country, both ranking 69 out of 176. China and India remain in their third and forth place positions with a 3.9 and 3.6.

Therefore, for the second year running…drum roll…the winner of my internationally acclaimed and prestigious award as the most corrupt BRICS country goes to…the Russian Federation! Once again, nostrovia!


2012 BRICS TI CPI Results

Brazil– rank 69th, score 43/100

Russia– rank 133rd, score 28/100

India– rank 94th, score 36/100

China– rank 80th, score 39/100

South Africa– rank 69th, score 43/100



Scott Firsing

Dr. Scott Firsing, an American residing in South Africa, is an expert on US-Africa relations. He is the Director of the North American International School (NAIS) in Pretoria, an Adjunct Research Fellow at Monash University, South Africa, an Executive at the Aerospace Leadership Academy and CEO of LINK Advisory, a consultancy helping American businesses enter Africa. Also a founder of the African NGO Young People in International Affairs, Scott is the former Head of International Studies at Monash, a former employee of the United Nations, Department for Disarmament Affairs, and a former fellow at the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA).