Ground Report | New Delhi: The most corrupt countries in the world; Corruption, behind-the-scenes deals, nepotism, prosecutions, and bribery. Regardless of your system of government, the public sector plays a vital role in establishing your economic mobility and political freedoms. Measuring corruption, the abuse of power for private gain, reveals how egalitarian a system really is.
For more than a decade, Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) has been the most widely used metric in the world to rate corruption. Aggregating multiple expert analyses of countries and businesses, the index assigns each country a score on a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean.
This map, published by Visual Capitalist and using data from the 2021 CPI, illustrates corruption in countries around the world.
At the top, with scores of 88, are the Nordic countries such as Denmark and Finland, as well as New Zealand. They have consistently outperformed the CPI over the last decade, and Europe has 14 of the 20 least corrupt countries. Asia also has many notable entrants, including Singapore (tied for 4th), Hong Kong (tied for 12th), and Japan (tied for 18th).
America, however, only has two countries in the top 20 least corrupt: Canada (tied for 13th) and Uruguay (tied for 18th). The US is ranked 28th just behind Bhutan, the United Arab Emirates and France.
The most corrupt countries in the world
On the other hand, at the bottom of the ranking are many countries that are currently and historically experiencing conflict, mainly located in the Middle East and Africa. They include Afghanistan, Venezuela, Somalia and South Sudan (the latter in the worst position).
South Sudan has been ranked as the most corrupt among the 180 countries in the 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI).
Somalia, for example, has held the unwelcome title of the world’s most corrupt country for the last ten years, scoring 10 on the 2016 Corruption Perceptions Index, which ranks the public sector of countries from zero to 100 These countries with a lower score are considered more corrupt and are generally characterized by impunity for corruption, poor governance and weak institutions, according to the report.
South Sudan, a relatively new country that gained independence from Sudan just six years ago, has a score of 11. The third most corrupt country is North Korea, followed by Syria, a war-torn country currently seeing a mass outflow of refugees.
Corruption is also a complex social, political and economic phenomenon that particularly affects most countries in Latin America. Venezuela is where this perception is the highest with only 14 points and in position 177 of the entire list. They are followed by Nicaragua and Haiti with a score of 20 and then Honduras, with 23 points.
At the other extreme, Uruguay is where corruption is least perceived in the region and with 73 points it ranks 18th internationally. Then come Chile (67 points), Costa Rica (58) and Cuba (46): the only four that exceeds the average score of 43 in the Americas.
- These countries significantly declined in the last 10 years: Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Canada, Chile, Cyprus, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Lebanon, Liberia, Luxembourg, Mali, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Philippines, Poland, Saint Lucia, South Sudan, Syria, Turkey, United States of America and Venezuela.
- These countries significantly improved in the last 10 years: Afghanistan, Angola, Armenia, Austria, Belarus, China, Cote d’Ivoire, Estonia, Ethiopia, Greece, Guyana, Italy, Latvia, Moldova, Myanmar, Nepal, Paraguay, Senegal, Seychelles, South Korea, Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.
- These 27 countries are at their lowest score since the earliest comparable year of available data (2012): Australia, Belgium, Botswana, Canada, Comoros, Cyprus, Dominica, Eswatini, Honduras, Hungary, Israel, Lebanon, Lesotho, Mongolia, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Philippines, Poland, Serbia, Slovenia, South Sudan, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey and Venezuela.
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