Vietnam’s Corruption Perception Ranking Declines in 2018

Posted by Written by Reading Time: 2 minutes

In the latest 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) by Transparency International, Vietnam ranked 117th amongst 180 countries and territories, dropping by 10 places compared to 2017. It scored 33 points out of 100 in the 2018 CPI, down two points compared to 2017.

This was a surprising result as Vietnam has made significant efforts in its fight against corruption since 2016.

During the 2012-15 period, Vietnam scored 31 points, while in 2016 and 2017, it scored 33 and 35 points respectively.

In the region, Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Singapore saw an improvement in their rankings, while others excluding Cambodia witnessed a decline.

The CPI index ranks 180 countries and territories and countries by their perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and businesspeople. The index scores include a scale of zero to 100, where zero is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean.

Regional comparison

Among ASEAN nations, Singapore led the rankings at third, followed by Brunei and Malaysia at the 31st and 61st position. Indonesia ranked 89th while the Philippines and Thailand tied at the 99th position. 

Myanmar and Laos were tied at 132nd, while Cambodia ranked the lowest at 161st.

Corruption in Vietnam

According to a 2018 survey conducted by the Mekong Development Research Institute in Vietnam, corruption (15.96 percent) was the third leading concern of the respondents, after employment (24.12 percent) and air pollution (17.06 percent) in Vietnam.

Educated respondents were more concerned about corruption, with over 50 percent of postgraduates viewing corruption as a major risk, while only eight percent of respondents without degrees saw it as a major concern.

There was also a difference between the public and the private sector. Almost a quarter (23 percent) of the public sector said that corruption is a cause for concern, while it was only 14 percent for the private sector.

On a positive note, 68 percent of the respondents believed that corruption will reduce in the next five years, driven by the country’s anti-corruption crackdown.

Going forward

According to the Transparency International report, Vietnam has made progress in curbing corruption by strengthening its anti-corruption legal framework and prosecuting corrupt individuals, especially in the energy and banking sectors.

However, these are only part of an effective strategy, as it also needs to strengthen its democratic institutions, ensure trial fairness, and increase political rights.

If its approach is not comprehensive, corruption will continue to be a serious problem in Vietnam. In addition, the government also needs to focus on strengthening the public sector’s integrity and asset disclosure by public officials to improve its rankings.


Vietnam Briefing is produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The firm assists foreign investors throughout Asia from offices across the world, including in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.  Readers may write vietnam@dezshira.com for more support on doing business in Vietnam.  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *