Uruguay suffers with lower levels of corruption than the United States and the majority of the 26 nations that make up the European Union (EU).
That is according to the recently released 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), published by non-governmental corruption watchdog Transparency International (TI), which saw the South American nation rise three places compared to the 2020 CPI to now sit joint 18th alongside Australia, Belgium, and Japan.
The highest scoring nations on 2021 CPI were Denmark, Finland, and New Zealand, which each achieved scores of 88, while South Sudan’s score of 11 points places it as the country that suffers most from corruption among the 180 nations surveyed.
The CPI is based on a 100-point scale measuring perceived levels of public sector corruption, based on surveys of experts or business people and is the most widely recognized measure of corruption levels in different countries around the world. According to the report’s authors, the global average score is 43 points.
Uruguay’s rise in the rankings came thanks to achieving a score of 73 – a two-point rise compared to the 2020 CPI, which saw it leapfrog the United Arab Emirates and Seychelles.
That score means that corruption in Uruguay is perceived to be less prevalent than in France and the United States, which scored 71 and 67 points to be placed in 22nd and 27th place respectively. The United States’ score puts it on par with Chile, and means that the two highest scoring countries from Latin America also scored better than EU members Spain, Portugal, Lithuania, and Slovenia.
The third-highest scoring nation from Latin America was Costa Rica, which earned one more point than in the previous CPI to achieve a score of 58 and be placed in 39th alongside Cape Verde.
The top three Latin American nations on the 2021 CPI sit above 12 EU nations, including Cyprus, Italy, and Greece, meaning that in total Uruguay achieved a better score than 17 EU member states.
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Low corruption in Uruguay just one reason to invest
For anyone familiar with South America’s second-smallest nation by area, the fact that perceptions of corruption in Uruguay are so low and see the country score so well in the CPI will come as little surprise.
Uruguay is known for its tight adherence to the rule of law, which along with a secure banking system and diversified economy have led to it being referred to as the ‘Switzerland of Latin America.’
It is also one of the region’s most prosperous countries, registering a gross national income (GNI) of $15,790 per capita in 2020 – placing it as one of the only ‘high income’ nations in Latin America, based on World Bank classifications.
High levels of development and prosperity also mean the country enjoys low levels of crime compared to most countries in the region, with six major US cities reporting higher homicide rates in 2020 than the 13.9 per 100,000 registered in Uruguay’s capital Montevideo.
The country also has one of the highest levels of English proficiency in the region, and with a well-established middle class, Uruguay has a relatively large and developed professional services sector, meaning that investors and businesses in the country have significant choice when it comes to partners and providers.
Uruguay is also known as a major hub for commerce, with large volumes of goods from the country, as well as neighboring Argentina and Brazil passing through the country’s ports.
Along with those neighbors and Paraguay, Uruguay is also a founding member of the Southern Common Market (Mercosur) — a 30-year-old economic association providing preferential access throughout the bloc to companies resident in any of the member states, as well as to key markets around the globe.
All of those factors add up to make the country a highly attractive destination for investment, with the fact that corruption in Uruguay is so low offering considerable confidence with regards to compliance and fair outcomes during judicial and other official processes.
Biz Latin Hub can assist you doing business in Uruguay
At Biz Latin Hub, we work with investors and corporations to help bridge the cultural and linguistic gaps they encounter when entering and doing business in Latin America and the Caribbean.
We have offices in 15 countries around the region, as well as in Puerto Rico, and provide packages of integrated back office services tailored to meet every need.
We are well known in the markets where we operate for our commitment to proper and ethical practices, meaning that even though low levels of corruption in Uruguay may make it even more attractive as an investment destination, when you work with us in any market, you are guaranteed that no compliance or other issues will arise.
Contact us today to find out more about how we can assist you with market entry and ongoing operations throughout the region.
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The information provided here within should not be construed as formal guidance or advice. Please consult a professional for your specific situation. Information provided is for informative purposes only and may not capture all pertinent laws, standards, and best practices. The regulatory landscape is continually evolving; information mentioned may be outdated and/or could undergo changes. The interpretations presented are not official. Some sections are based on the interpretations or views of relevant authorities, but we cannot ensure that these perspectives will be supported in all professional settings.