The end of the year is also the time of various retrospective evaluations and assessments. One of the most important statistics that people from all over the world are presented with is the Corruption Perceptions Index, the most widely used indicator of corruption worldwide. Since the turn of the new millennium, Transparency International has published the Corruption Perceptions Index annually ranking countries by their perceived levels of corruption, as determined by expert assessments and opinion surveys. The CPI draws on data sources from independent institutions specializing in governance and business climate analysis. As Transparency International points out, the CPI it is not a verdict on the levels of corruption of entire nations or societies, or of their policies, but rather an indicator of perceptions of public sector corruption, i.e. administrative and political corruption. While the first places (with the lowest corruption) are almost invariable with New Zealand and Northern European countries ranking at the very top, the bottom of the list is more changeable. To learn what the 25 most corrupt countries according to the 2014 CPI were, check out today´s post.
With a population of about 7 million, Paraguay is among the most corrupt South American countries. Observers maintain that corruption in Paraguay remains a major impediment to the emergence of stronger democratic institutions and sustainable economic development. The clientelism that is pervasive in Paraguayan politics is a particular problem of the country and one of the reasons why Paraguay reached just 24 points in the 2014 CPI.
Republic of Congo
Located in Central Africa, the Republic of Congo has a disturbed and violent history. Until 1991, it was a Marxist–Leninist single-party country with corruption being an inseparable part of the regime. After that, multi-party elections have been held but a democratically elected government was ousted in the 1997 by the civil war. The consequences of the war have been affecting the country up today, leaving the society in decline that will be hard to overcome.
With a population of about 8 million, Tajikistan is a mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia. In 1997, after a severe civil war, a newly established political stability and foreign aid have allowed the country’s economy and living standards to grow but similarly to other former Soviet states in Central Asia, corruption remains a big issue in Tajikistan. The sectors that seem to be corrupt the most are public administrative, services and the judiciary. The country´s CPI score was 23, the same like in Republic of Congo.
Occupying an area of almost 500,000 square miles (1,280,000 square kilometers), Chad is the fifth largest country in Africa in terms of area. Most of its 10 million inhabitants are farmers and herders living in poverty. The country´s recent history has been marked by insecurity, endemic corruption, human rights abuses and a deeply entrenched patronage system which permeates all sectors of society. Oil exploitation is considered the major source of corruption in Chad since the government has used the income for its own profit and to strengthen its dominant position.
Democratic Republic of Congo
With a population of almost 80 million, the Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the most populous countries in the list. As the country emerges from a long period of wars, violence and instability, it continues to struggle with repeated political crises, weak governance, mismanagement of the rich natural resources and omnipresent corruption. There have been several attempts to fight the corruption but the agenda is often manipulated for political reasons. With same score as Chad (22 points), the country still has a lot to work on.
Located in the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia, Cambodia has one of the best economic records in Asia, with growth averaging 6 percent over the last decade but corruption remains the country´s major setback. Paradoxically, the 2010 Anti-Corruption Law makes this problem even bigger since it provides no protection to whistleblowers who can be jailed for up to 6 months if they report corruption that cannot be proven. With a score of 21, Cambodia ranked as the 20th most corrupt country according to the 2014 CPI.
With a population of over 51 million, Myanmar is another Southeast Asian country with extremely high corruption level. Over five decades of military dictatorship left the country mired in poverty and plagued by corruption. Although the new, quasi-civilian government that took power in 2011 has enacted sweeping political and economic reforms aimed at attracting foreign investment and cleaning up the economy, recent surveys proved the efforts have had only a very limited impact on corruption. The score Myanmar reached in this year´s CPI was the same like Cambodia, 21 points.
Located in southern Africa, Zimbabwe has been occupied by a succession of powerful kingdoms and empires. As a result, the country has been writhing in a substantial economic as well as social decline. Corruption in Zimbabwe has become endemic within its political, private and civil sectors. The country has rich diamond resources and the diamond trade has been a major cause of the corruption as well as some other types of criminality such as human rights abuse, smuggling etc. In 2008, Transparency International announced that Zimbabwe loses incredible 5 million USD to corruption every day.
With a population of about 9 million, Burundi is one of the poorest and most corrupt countries in the world. This densely populated Southeast African country has suffered from devastating warfare, which, along with other factors, contributes to the substantial overall decline of the country´s infrastructure, government as well as the entire society. Obviously, corruption is just one of several principal problems Burundi has been struggling with. According to the Global Hunger Index of 2013, for example, Burundi was also ranked the hungriest country in the world in terms of percentage. As for the 2014 CPI score, the country received 20 points.
Located in Western Asia, Syria is another country that has been affected by tumultuous past and a large number of violent military coups. The ongoing Syrian civil war makes this country one of the least peaceful in the world. The long-term warfare combined with severe droughts that have been troubling the region in the recent years, have turned Syria into an extremely hostile place where pervasive corruption is an integral part of everyday life. In this year´s CPI, the country scored 20 points which means it is 16th most corrupt country in the world.
With a population of about 25 million, Angola is another African country that suffers from particularly high corruption. Emerging from nearly three decades of conflict and instability, Angola continues to face major challenges of weak governance and widespread corruption at all levels of society. Corruption in Angola takes various forms from bureaucratic, political and grand corruption to embezzlement of public resources or systematic looting of state assets. The government has introduced some reforms to fight the problem but so far, they have been too ineffective and underdeveloped.
With an estimated population of just 1,600,000, Guinea-Bissau is one of the smallest countries in the list but as for the corruption rate, this Western African country ranks among the worst on a regular basis. The country´s long history of political instability and misrule has lead to many major problems such as a significant economical decline, poverty, high crime rate (Guinea-Bissau is often referred to as the major African hub for drug trafficking) and the aforementioned corruption. Weak governance and the lack of any anti-corruption framework are the main reasons why the problem continues to plague the country.
Located in the Greater Antillean archipelago, Haiti is the only Caribbean country in the list. Despite its nicely-sounding nickname The Pearl of the Antilles and the strikingly beautiful nature and holiday resorts sought after by tourists from all over the world, the country is also notorious for its political instability and omnipresent corruption. Combined with the rotten business environment and inefficient judicial framework, it has lead to a bizarrely miserable situation when the richest 1% of Haitians owns nearly half of the country´s wealth.
Situated in the northern coast of South America, Venezuela is another country that can boast amazing natural beauties and high biodiversity but when it comes to fighting corruption, Venezuela has nothing to be proud of at all. Recent surveys revealed that 75% of Venezuelans believe corruption is widespread throughout the government. Apart from the corruption, the country has been also struggling with long-running economic crisis, high inflation (up to 100%) and poverty. Venezuelan 2014 CPI score was the same like with the previous 3 countries – 19 points.
Occupying the southwestern of the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen is a developing Arab country in Southwest Asia. Recently, Yemen has been writhing in a series of street protests against poverty, unemployment and corruption that has been one of the most significant problems of the country. Corruption in Yemen is undermining the formation of effective and transparent organizations, functioning parliament, governmental institutions etc. It is also crippling economic development since only the richest can afford things that should be available to all. It is estimated that vast majority of Yemenis experience some form of corruption on a daily basis.
Occupying a total area of approximately 118,000 square kilometers (45,000 square miles), Eritrea is a multi-ethnic country located in East Africa. Despite a tumultuous past marked by several major wars such as the Eritrean War of Independence, the Eritrean–Ethiopian War or conflicts with both Djibouti and Ethiopia, the country´s economy has experienced considerable growth in recent years, indicated by an improvement in gross domestic product. But even the favorable economical conditions have not reduced the corruption rate which is very high in Eritrea. With the CPI score of just 18 points, Eritrea ranks as the 10th most corrupt country in the world.
North Africa also has its “representative” in the list. With an area of almost 1.8 million square kilometers (700,000 square miles), Libya is the fourth largest country in Africa, and the 17th largest country in the world. Affected by recent military conflicts fought between forces loyal to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and those seeking to oust his government, the country has experienced a dramatic decline in both economical as well as social levels. Apart from extreme corruption, the country faces many structural problems including a lack of institutions, weak governance or chronic structural unemployment.
With a population of over 30 million, Uzbekistan is a land-locked country in Central Asia. The country has very rich natural resources, especially gold, copper, uranium, gas and oil but the local government continues to maintain economic controls which deter foreign investment. Therefore, the economical situation in the country is far from what it could be, creating breeding ground for negative phenomena such as criminality, human rights abuse but particularly rampant corruption. There are laws in place to prevent it, but the enforcement is very weak.
Uzbekistan´s neighbor Turkmenistan ended up even in a worse place. This country is also very rich in natural resources – it possesses the world’s fourth-largest reserves of natural gas and substantial oil resources – but similarly to its neighbor, Turkmenistan cannot take full advantage of the raw materials due to its incompetent government. In 2004, for example, the unemployment rate was estimated to be 60%. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that corruption and other types of criminality such as drug trafficking flourish in such a bad business environment.
In the recent years Iraq, a Western Asian country with about 36 million people, has been known as one of the least peaceful countries in the world. The long-running warfare has decimated the country, plunging it into a state of a total disrepair. Enormous corruption has been a common thing in every level of Iraqi people´ s life. The corruption is often accompanied by massive embezzlement, procurement scams, money laundering, oil smuggling and widespread bureaucratic bribery. With a score of just 16 points, Iraq was ranked as 6th most corrupt country in the world.
South Sudan is a landlocked country in northeastern Africa that gained its independence from Sudan in 2011. However, since its independence, the country has suffered internal conflicts that prevent it from any further development. The country holds several sad world´s primacies such as the highest maternal mortality or female illiteracy rates. Extreme poverty, human rights abuse, unemployment and corruption are something local people have to deal with every day. Public servants are known to demand bribes for services that individuals or companies are legally entitled to and government officials are frequently involved in corrupt practices without ever being investigated.
Located in Central Asia, Afghanistan is another extremely dangerous country that has been devastated by various military campaigns, invasions and both international as well as civil wars. Consequently, Afghanistan ranks among the most impoverished and least developed countries. In 2009 for example, almost half of the population lived on less than $1 a day. It is no surprise that corruption in Afghanistan is a widespread and growing problem. The corruption is particularly rampant in the north of the country, at the borders with Uzbekistan.
With an area of almost 1,900,000 square kilometers (730,000 square miles) the third largest country in Africa, Sudan is a poor country that suffers from several major challenges. For much of Sudan’s history, the nation has suffered from rampant ethnic strife and has been plagued by internal conflicts including two civil wars and the War in the Darfur region. The country is infamous for human rights abuse, ethnic cleansing, slavery and enormously widespread corruption which is firmly embedded in all governmental levels. With a score of mere 11 points, Sudan was ranked as the third most corrupt country in 2014 according to Transparency International.
Infamous for its totalitarian dictatorship with an elaborate cult of personality around its current leader Kim Jong-un, North Korea is a country where corruption is just one of many major widespread and growing problems. The country has been maintaining one of the most closed and centralized economies in the world, which has led to significant lack of many commodities and overall economical decline. As a result, frauds, embezzlements, bribery and other types of financial crimes have been established as common behavior in the country.
Located in East Africa, Somalia has been ranked the most corrupt country in the world in several consecutive years. The enormously rampant corruption that emerged in Somalia after numerous internal conflicts, civil wars and ethnic cleansings has been further exacerbated by the absence of a functional central government, a lack of resources and administrative capacity, weak leadership structures as well as a limited ability to pay public officials. It affects all the key sectors of the economy such as ports and airports, tax and custom collection, immigration, telecommunication and management of aid resources.