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Bangladesh’s Corruption Quandary: A Multifaceted Analysis of its Ranking in the Corruption Perceptions Index

Bangladesh’s Corruption Quandary- TIB-International’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) for 2023

The recent release of Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) for 2023 has fueled discussions about the prevalence of corruption in South Asia. While Afghanistan holds the unfortunate distinction of being the most corrupt country in the region, Bangladesh finds itself in a challenging position as the second most corrupt country. This article seeks to unravel the complexities of Bangladesh’s ranking on the CPI by exploring the historical context and various perspectives on the factors influencing its decline.

Historical Context:

Bangladesh’s historical narrative on the Corruption Perceptions Index reflects a journey shaped by a succession of triumphs and challenges. Since gaining independence in 1971, the nation has grappled with establishing robust governance frameworks capable of curbing corruption. The 2023 report, unveiling a notable setback with Bangladesh slipping two positions to secure the 10th spot globally among 180 countries, underscores the fragility of the nation’s anti-corruption endeavors. This decline prompts a closer examination of historical factors that have influenced the perception of corruption in Bangladesh, as understanding this trajectory is pivotal in deciphering the root causes behind the current setback.

The historical context reveals periods of progress interspersed with instances of regression in Bangladesh’s anti-corruption efforts. A nuanced exploration of these historical dynamics provides valuable insights into the factors shaping the country’s standing on the Corruption Perceptions Index. Identifying recurrent patterns, successes, and setbacks over the years enables a more informed analysis of the systemic challenges that contribute to corruption. This historical lens facilitates a holistic understanding, guiding policymakers, civil society, and international stakeholders in formulating targeted strategies to address the deep-seated issues and propel Bangladesh towards a future characterized by transparency, accountability, and effective governance.

Landscape of South Asia:

Bangladesh’s decline within the South Asian region is part of a broader trend. While Pakistan and Nepal showed marginal improvement of 2 and 1 point respectively, other countries including Bangladesh experienced deterioration. This regional pattern emphasizes the need for collective efforts to combat corruption, as the problem transcends national borders.

Africa and comparison with top performers:

Looking outside of South Asia, Somalia stands out as the most corrupt country in Africa, scoring just 11 out of 100 points. The gravity of the situation in Africa serves as a reminder that corruption is a global challenge with varying severity across the continent. On the other hand, Denmark tops the list of least corrupt countries with an impressive score of 90 out of 100 points, followed by Finland and New Zealand.

Denmark’s success in maintaining its top position indicates a strong commitment to the effectiveness and transparency of strong anti-corruption measures. The contrast between Denmark and Bangladesh on the CPI highlights stark disparities in governance and accountability practices between the nations.

Factors affecting Bangladesh’s ranking:

  1. Decrease in CPI Score:

The declining Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) score for Bangladesh, marked by a one-point drop to 24 from the previous year, raises critical questions about the reasons for this decline. A decrease in CPI scores indicates a growing perception of corruption within the country, requiring a closer examination of the sectors where corruption is most pronounced. Identifying specific areas of concern, whether in public administration, law enforcement or other institutions, is crucial to formulating targeted strategies to address the root causes of corruption. This nuanced approach can pave the way for more effective anti-corruption measures, strengthen institutional integrity, and foster the culture of transparency needed to restore public confidence in Bangladesh’s governance.

  1. Regional dynamics:

In the context of South Asia, Bangladesh finds itself in a dynamic landscape where fighting corruption is a collective challenge. Despite progress in Pakistan and Nepal, reflected in improved Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) scores, Bangladesh, along with five other South Asian countries, experienced an alarming decline. Understanding regional dynamics is crucial, as it allows a comprehensive analysis of common challenges facing neighboring countries. Collaborative efforts have become essential in this regional context, where the exchange of best practices and joint initiatives can contribute to stronger anti-corruption frameworks. Examining the nuanced interplay of factors influencing corruption across South Asia enables Bangladesh to tailor its strategies to the region’s unique dynamics, enhancing its collective commitment to transparency and accountability. Tackling corruption cooperatively within the region can enhance the impact of anti-corruption measures, promoting a shared vision of governance excellence in South Asia.

  1. Global Contrast:

The level of corruption on the global stage reveals a stark dichotomy, emphasizing the contrasting fortunes of nations. In Africa, Somalia struggles with the dismal distinction of being the most corrupt country, scoring just 11 points out of 100 on the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). This stark contrast is further highlighted by Denmark’s position as the leader among the least corrupt countries worldwide. Denmark’s impressive score underscores the effectiveness of anti-corruption measures and strong governance structures. Analyzing these global perspectives not only magnifies the scale of Bangladesh’s challenges but also provides valuable insights into the various strategies countries have adopted to combat corruption. Understanding global contrasts provides a broader context for Bangladesh, prompting a more nuanced approach that considers international best practices and lessons learned in the relentless pursuit of transparency and accountability.

  1. Continuous Challenges:

Bangladesh’s persistent position at the low end of the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) indicates the persistence of corruption challenges within the country. The consistency of such rankings raises legitimate concerns about the systemic problems that contribute to this chronic problem. Combating corruption requires a concerted effort not only by the government, but also by the active participation of civil society and cooperation with international organizations. Understanding the root causes of corruption is critical to implementing targeted reforms that can bring about meaningful and sustainable change. By developing a multi-stakeholder approach that incorporates diverse perspectives and expertise, Bangladesh can develop a comprehensive strategy to address deep-seated challenges, promote transparency, accountability and good governance for the benefit of its citizens and the nation at large.

  1. Economic and Social Impact:

The impact of corruption extends beyond the numerical ranking of the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), which permeates the very fabric of a country’s economic and social landscape. Bangladesh’s position as one of the most corrupt countries in South Asia carries significant economic and social implications. A corrupt environment can act as a deterrent to foreign investors, hampering a country’s potential for economic growth. Furthermore, corruption has the potential to hinder sustainable development initiatives, diverting resources away from essential public services. Socially, the impact is profound as corruption exacerbates inequality, making marginalized communities more vulnerable. Recognizing these far-reaching implications is essential to formulating comprehensive anti-corruption strategies. Efforts to combat corruption must go beyond mere numerical improvement and create a transparent, accountable and just society that fosters economic prosperity and social well-being for all citizens.


The revelation that Bangladesh ranks second in corruption in South Asia, according to the Corruption Perceptions Index, calls for a comprehensive analysis from various vantage points. This volatile reality demands a nuanced understanding of the factors influencing corruption domestically and in the larger regional and global context. As Bangladesh seeks economic progress and social well-being, fighting corruption must rise to the top of national priorities.

Effectively tackling corruption requires a multifaceted approach that takes into account historical context, regional dynamics and global perspectives. The persistent challenges highlighted by Bangladesh’s consistent low ranking require collaborative efforts by governments, civil society and international organizations. Tackling corruption involves a deep commitment not only to improving numerical standing but also to addressing systemic issues and building a culture of transparency.

The economic and social impact of corruption emphasizes the need for concerted action. Apart from its impact on global rankings, corruption hinders economic growth, deters foreign investment and increases social inequality. To secure a bright future, Bangladesh must prioritize addressing the root causes of corruption, implementing strong anti-corruption measures and building a transparent and accountable governance system. Only through such concerted efforts can Bangladesh enhance its global standing, attract investment and build a more just and prosperous society for its citizens. The journey towards a corruption-free Bangladesh requires sustained commitment, cooperation and a holistic approach to navigating the complex challenges posed by corruption.


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