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Latin American corruption index reveals increasing business risks amid pandemic

By on June 9, 2020

Editor’s note: The webcast of “The State of Anti-Corruption in Latin America: The 2020 CCC Index Launch” event above was live-streamed Tuesday morning.

SAN JUAN – The Americas Society/Council of the Americas (AS/COA) and consulting firm Control Risks have published the “2020 Capacity to Combat Corruption (CCC) Index” to assesses Latin American countries’ ability to “uncover, punish, and deter corruption,” they said.

The Americas Society (AS) is a forum dedicated to fostering inter-American relationships through education and analysis of political, social and economic issues confronting Latin America, the Caribbean and Canada; while the Council of the Americas’ (COA) membership consists of companies from various sectors that assure a commitment to “economic and social development, open markets, the rule of law, and democracy.”

“COVID-19 is posing unprecedented challenges to Latin America, including its efforts to combat corruption. All countries in the region have been forced to swiftly mobilize massive resources to fight the virus and to mitigate its economic fallout. In this environment of emergency spending, relaxed controls, and remote working, the risk of corruption and mismanagement of funds has increased,” the AS/COA said.

“The Index shows in detail how the anti-corruption wave that was advancing in Latin America a few years ago has lost steam and, in some places, is dangerously receding. Even more concerning, this is happening while COVID-19 is increasing the risk of corruption across the region,” said Roberto Simon, senior director of policy at AS/COA.

The new CCC Index evaluates and ranks 15 Latin American countries based on how effectively they can combat corruption. Countries with a higher score are deemed more likely to see corrupt actors prosecuted and punished. 

The index looks at 14 variables, including the independence of judicial institutions, the strength of investigative journalism and the level of resources available for combating white-collar crime. These variables are divided in three sub-categories: legal capacity; democracy and political institutions; and civil society, media and the private sector. Countries’ overall scores are a weighted aggregate of these three sub-categories.

The countries were ranked as follows:

  • Uruguay (7.78 out of 10)
  • Chile (6.57)
  • Costa Rica (6.43)
  • Brazil (5.52)
  • Peru (5.47)
  • Argentina (5.32)
  • Colombia (5.18)
  • Mexico (4.55)
  • Ecuador (4.19)
  • Panama (4.17)
  • Guatemala (4.04)
  • Paraguay (3.88)
  • Dominican Republic (3.26)
  • Bolivia (2.71)
  • Venezuela (1.52)
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“The index relies on extensive data and a proprietary survey conducted among anti-corruption experts from Control Risks, academia, civil society, media and the private sector,” reads the AS/COA Anti-Corruption Working Group’s (AWG) website. The network convenes anticorruption advocates and corporate leaders who it “are determined to see the historic crackdown” on graft.

“The findings of the 2020 CCC Index have significant implications for those doing business in Latin America. They reveal an uneven and changing enforcement landscape, underscoring the need for companies to update their Risk Assessments and, consequently, adapt their compliance programs to manage corruption risks most effectively,” added Geert Aalbers, partner at Control Risks.

See the CCC Index report here.

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