7 Most Corrupt Countries in the World

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7 Most Corrupt Countries in the World

Corruption is often cited as one of the biggest problems in governments across the world. Though many would like to dismiss it as a third-world problem or as an issue associated with the mobsters and gangsters of yesteryear, corruption is alive and kicking in more countries than you might think.

Transparency International’s study of corruption found that two-thirds of the world’s nations scored below 50 on their corruption index, with the worst possible score being a 0 and the best, 100. While many developed countries posted fine scores — Denmark and New Zealand led the way, tied at 91 — a number of nations in Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas lagged behind.

Oftentimes, the countries that experience the most corruption are those wracked by political and military strife. When conflicts occur, it becomes easier for government functions to break down, as everyone tries to get their hands on a bigger share of the pie at any cost. Let’s take a closer look at the seven most corrupt countries in the world.

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7. Iraq

A score of 16 is the first to crack our list, and the first country to do so is Iraq. Occupied by American forces throughout the previous decade, Iraq was long held under the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein. The government that emerged from the ashes is — though arguably more humanitarian — in many ways no less corrupt than its predecessor. With many local officials also siphoning off public funds and supplies, as well as religious tensions still going unresolved in the country, Iraq still has a ways to go before progress can be made.


6. Libya

Libya is another country where a period of political transition has opened the way for rampant corruption, giving it a score of 15 from Transparency International. While many people may think of Benghazi when asked about what’s going on in Libya, the actual situation is more complex, stemming from the more than 40-year rule of the ousted Muammar Gadaffi.

If corruption is to be reined in, a central authority will have to crack down on the issue, a move that seems far off given the delicate balance of power in the region.

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5. South Sudan

South Sudan is a country on the index for the first time this year, and it already has cracked the top five. The achievement was accomplished with a score of 14. As with many other entries on this list, a power vacuum has opened the door to rampant corruption. South Sudan is a new country, and it will take time for the leadership to establish a firm grip.

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4. Sudan

Moving just to the north, we check in with Sudan, which posted a value of 11 on the corruption index. Sudan has long been known for its regional conflicts, with massive violence taking place in Darfur and refugees fleeing westward into Chad. Such conditions create a maelstrom for corruption, with local warlords wielding more power than the central government in many parts of the country.


3. Afghanistan

Another country occupied by foreign forces in the previous decade is Afghanistan, which has not managed to avoid the trap of corruption, either. The nation scored an 8 on Transparency International’s index, placing it in a three-way tie for first place. Afghanistan has long faced the problem of bringing together different ethnic groups, and whether it was the Taliban, the British, the Soviets, or the Americans, any overseer has faced difficulty in uniting the region under one government. Even when somewhat successful, it is evident that massive corruption remains.


2. North Korea

Sharing a score of 8 and first-place honors is North Korea, one of the last countries still ruled by a familial dictatorship. Often cited as one of the most backward countries in the world, North Korea has not only suffered from out-of-control statism, tyrannical conditions, and militaristic overspending, but also from corruption. Dictatorial regimes — though they rule with an iron fist — are often some of the most corrupt governments of all, not hesitating to give positions and funds to friends and family members rather than on merit.


1. Somalia

Our final destination is Somalia, another country that scored 8 points on the corruption index. Somalia has a history of conflict, with the Islamic Courts Union battling other factions and violence dating back to an operation in Mogadishu that became the basis for the film Black Hawk Down. The country also has a reputation for piracy, an occupation that surely bears some level of corruption in itself.

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