El Salvador Drops Two Points in the 2023 Corruption Perceptions Index

By Eddie Galdamez  | Updated on Jan 30th, 2024
El Salvador's Corruption Perceptions IndexEl Salvador's Corruption Perceptions Index.

On the 2023 Corruption Perceptions Index by Transparency International released on January 2024, El Salvador received a Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) score of 31; the country dropped two points from the previous year.

The score of 31 is on a scale of 0 to 100, with 100 being the best score possible. Due to the 2-point decrease, El Salvador’s overall rank dropped to 126 from 116.

According to Transparency International, the average score of all the 180 countries evaluated was 43, a trend maintained over the last decade. “Over two-thirds of countries score below 50 out of 100, which strongly indicates that they have serious corruption problems,” remarks the report.

El Salvador’s Historical CPI Score
2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
CPI Score 38 39 39 36 33 35 34 36 34 33 31

Scoring 31 on the Corruption Perception Index, El Salvador has reached its lowest score in the past decade. The peak scores were achieved in 2014 and 2015, both reaching 39.

Under the Bukele administration, El Salvador’s Corruption Perceptions Index score has declined. While many Salvadorans express satisfaction with Bukele’s governance style, internationally, he is perceived as an authoritarian president who is diminishing the country’s democratic system.

El Salvador is in its lowest position in the last decade on the Corruption Perception Index. For the “extreme co-option of judges and prosecutors by political elites” where the “Judiciary becomes a tool to attack honest judges and prosecutors.” Cristosal.

Central America’s Corruption Perceptions Index
# Country 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
1 Costa Rica 56 57 58 54 55
2 Panama 36 35 36 36 35
3 El Salvador 34 36 34 33 31
4 Guatemala 26 25 25 24 23
5 Honduras 26 24 23 23 23
5 Nicaragua 22 22 20 19 17

SEE ALSO: Living in El Salvador: Top Reasons for Moving to El Salvador

In Central America, El Salvador ranks 3rd behind Panama and Costa Rica. However, only Costa Rica is way ahead of El Salvador (24 points) with a score of 55; Panama, with a score of 35, is only 4 points ahead of El Salvador.

Nicaragua ranks at the bottom in Central America, registering a Corruption Perceptions Index score of 17. Both Honduras and Guatemala outperform Nicaragua, obtaining scores of 23

The Transparency Organization states that some governments have taken extreme measures to tackle organized crime and gang violence, for example, the Salvadoran State of Exception.

However, as per their perspective, extreme measures centralize power in the executive branch, diminishing transparency and accountability. Moreover, they pose significant threats to human rights and fundamental freedoms.