Corruption Challenges Index 2020 | Press Release


The Risk Advisory Group Ltd (‘Risk Advisory’) has released the Corruption Challenges Index 2020, our fourth edition – revealing the countries and markets that pose the biggest corruption challenges for foreign investors.

VIEW corruption challenges index 2020 

The index is intended to be a useful measure of where and how corruption manifests itself locally. It is based on Risk Advisory’s experience of carrying out more than 500 in-depth, global integrity due diligence investigations over the last 12 months.

Key findings

  • Construction and development, infrastructure, and oil and gas remain the most challenging industry sectors from a corruption point of view globally
  • Turkmenistan remains the country where businesses face the biggest corruption challenges, followed by North Korea and then Libya
  • Europe continues to feature positively in the index and dominates the list of least challenging countries. It also has the lowest average corruption challenge score
  • Middle East & North Africa generally performs poorly in the index with the highest average corruption challenge score. It also claims five out of ten countries where the threat levels are highest for unstable regimes and the likelihood of encountering corruption
  • Globally, the greatest Threat (T) of corruption lies in Central African Republic, Libya and Yemen
  • The ability to source reliable information is at its worst in Turkmenistan, North Korea and Laos – marked as Opacity (O) scores on the maps.


Key features:

  • Three interactive maps – revealing the highest and lowest threats posed (corruption threat), the availability of information (opacity) and the overall challenge of doing business in each country (Corruption Challenge Index score)
  • Top 10 league tables – indicating the most and least challenging countries to carry out business
  • Top 3 sectors – exposed to corruption in each region and globally
  • Regional viewpoints – interpretation from our global team of experts, highlighting trends and themes

Click on the link below to view the global maps, league tables and analysis from our regional experts, to better understand the unique corruption challenges of countries.


Key Quotes

“While anti-corruption compliance budgets are being cut, the universe of risks proliferates.”
– Chris Rowley, Managing Director, Business Intelligence & Investigations

“Africa retains its challenges but economic diversification and liberalisation policies are leading the continent into the new decade.”
– Hannah Gilkes, Head of Business Intelligence, Africa

North America
“International firms doing business in the US or Canada should remain wary of the corruption risks at the local level in both countries, despite their reputation as safe and predictable jurisdictions from a corruption perspective.”
– Thomas Smith, Head of Business Intelligence, North America

Latin America
“For different reasons, the main corruption challenges in Latin America lie in Brazil and Venezuela. But political upheaval in traditionally stable countries like Chile and elsewhere, means that it may be a bumpy year ahead for the continent.”
– Eric Wheeler, Head of Business Intelligence, Latin America

“Asia is often cited as a good news story on corruption, but challenges remain across the continent. Public displays of commitment around tackling corruption are all too often theatre more than they are leaps towards meaningful reform.”
– Brendan McGloin, Head of Business Intelligence, Asia

“The long-awaited implementation of the EU’s 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive, as well as a major reform of the German criminal law, show that despite considerable variations in the accessibility of information, the continent is continuing to take a tough stance on corruption.”
– Ariana Issa, Head of Business Intelligence, Europe

Middle East & North Africa
“Anger at corrupt elites lies at the heart of the latest wave of popular protest, prompting another wave of corruption trials across the Middle East and North Africa. At the same time, foreign investment continues to pour into some of the most challenging corruption hotspots in the region.”
– Hannah Poppy, Head of Business Intelligence, Middle East & North Africa

Russia, Eastern Europe & Eurasia
“‘It’s difficult to be optimistic that Russia’s corruption problem will change any time soon, but elsewhere in the region, young technocrats have been replacing the cadre of old (and often corrupt) administrators as the liberalisation of Central Asian economies proceeds apace. That’s encouraging and there are promising signs in Ukraine and elsewhere too.”
– Dmitry Sachkov, Head of Business Intelligence, Russia, Eastern Europe & Eurasia

Scoring & Methodology
Scoring for the index is based on the threat of corruption, the exposure of foreign investors to it, and the availability of reliable information upon which to base integrity investigations in each country. A full methodology can be found here.


For additional information or to speak to any of the Business Intelligence & Investigations team, please contact in the first instance.

The Risk Advisory Group
3 More London Riverside
SE1 2AQ  | @riskadvisory

Key referencing terminology / notes to press
“The Risk Advisory Group” in the first mention, and "Risk Advisory" thereafter.

About Business Intelligence
Risk Advisory provides intelligence services in support of board-level decisions related to capital projects, strategic expansion, major competitive tenders and other opportunities.

We provide decision-makers with clarity and insight to enable them to make informed decisions in uncertain political, regulatory and commercial conditions.

About The Risk Advisory Group
The Risk Advisory Group is a leading independent global risk consultancy that helps businesses grow whilst protecting their people, assets and brands.

Risk Advisory provides intelligence, investigations and security services to support organisations dealing with complex international threats. Our guidance, intelligence and analysis help many of the world’s foremost businesses negotiate challenging and uncertain environments to choose the right opportunities, in the right markets, with the right partners.

The company was founded in 1997, employs over 125 people and has offices in Washington DC, New York, London, Moscow, Dubai, Beirut and Hong Kong.

Further information is available at

About Corruption Challenges Index 2020
Risk Advisory’s  Corruption Challenges Index 2020, our fourth edition, identifies countries and territories which pose the biggest corruption challenges for foreign investors. The index is a useful measure of where and how corruption manifests itself locally. Our scores are based on a number of factors such as levels of FCPA enforcement action and local industry risks, as well as accessibility and reliability of information – a crucial line of defence for people whose jobs involve protecting organisations against corruption. It’s also based on more than 500 investigations we have conducted over the last 12 months.

It is important that businesses are aware of which countries and sectors have a significant risk of corruption. The Corruption Challenges Index is an essential guide for businesses conducting work globally, ensuring awareness of where corruption challenges lie and why you should conduct thorough due diligence before investing in such a country.

Methodology and further information is available at:

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