Want to know which are the top corrupt countries / governments in the world? While corruption can be found in just about every country, it is more widespread in some than others. We looked through a list of countries from failed states to emerging democracies to present you with the list of 25 most corrupt countries in the world.
Disclaimer: this list is based on Transparency International’s annual rankings for 2014. While most of these countries are undergoing civil unrest and political instability, the unifying factor here is widespread political and economic corruption.
Following nearly 30 years of dictatorship, Paraguay descended into factional power struggles and political instability. Since then it has become a center for drug smuggling, money laundering, and organized crime. Although civil war and violence are not as prevalent as on the rest of this list, poverty and corruption are rife.
Republic of the Congo
Following decades of civil war, the economic situation has improved slightly but most of the population still live in poverty, civil unrest is still an issue, and rule of law has yet to take hold.
Almost immediately following independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Tajikistan was engulfed in civil war. Although the conflict has ended, the economy has not picked up and poverty is widespread.
Inadequate infrastructure, poverty, a refugee crisis, and civil unrest have defined much of the country’s struggle for the past few decades.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
After being at the center of what some have called Africa’s World War (Second Congo War), the world’s bloodiest conflict since the end of World War II, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has suffered from turmoil, poverty, and a vast number of humanitarian crises.
After decades of murderous genocide and civil war, Cambodia has enjoyed relative peace for the last 2 decades although civil unrest continues. It is also still one of the poorest countries in the world.
After 40 years of rule by a military junta, this reclusive state held its first election in 2010. In spite of this, conflict remains as the Burmese majority has been accused of numerous human rights abuses against minority groups. The country is also one of the least developed in the world and remains very rural and poor.
Under the longtime authoritarian rule of Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s economy and infrastructure have become a mess with most of its population living in abject poverty.
A poor country dominated by years of ethnic violence and genocide, Burundi managed to stabilize itself briefly but is constantly on the verge of falling back into conflict.
An international pariah and focal point of conflict, Syria has been fraught with violence, genocide, and ethnic conflict. Lawlessness is prevalent and groups such as Islamic State have claimed much of its territory.
Another former Portuguese colony, Angola underwent a 30 year civil war following its independence that has left it as one of the poorest nations on Earth. Ironically enough, it is actually quite wealthy in terms of natural resources but due to high levels of corruption and violence most of the population is displaced and poor.
Once hailed as a model of development in Africa, this former Portuguese colony quickly underwent a series of bloody military coups that left the country in shambles.
Although it was the first Caribbean state to gain its independence, decades of violence and conflict have left the country far behind its neighbors in almost every measurable way.
Ever since the rise of populist leader Hugo Chavez, much of the country’s people have descended into poverty. With a strong authoritarian hold on the power and a critically weak economy, Venezuela does not rank very high in measures of stability or transparency.
With the government being recently ousted, this country has largely succumbed to turmoil and instability. Opposing rebel groups including Al Qaeda are currently vying for power.
Ever since its bloody 30 year war with Ethiopia that eventually left it independent, Eritrea has only been rivaled by North Korea in terms of its secrecy. Foreign reporters or media members have been unable to gain much access but allegations of significant human rights abuses abound.
Ever since the fall of eccentric dictator Muammar Gaddafi, the country has descended into a state of lawlessness with no functioning central government and warring clans jostling for power.
With a highly authoritarian government and a very poor human rights record, Uzbekistan has often been a focal point of criticism both from western nations and watchdog groups.
A former soviet republic, Turkmenistan only recently emerged from being a very strict dictatorship although its government is still fairly autocratic. It is an ethnically homogenous country with an underdeveloped economy because foreign investors have for the most part stayed away.
A focal point of war, conflict, and regional struggles for power, it is perhaps a bit surprising that Iraq isn’t ranked even lower.
It is one of the newest nations on Earth and although it recently gained its independence from Sudan there is still a lot of work to be done when it comes to establishing stability.
This landlocked nation has suffered so much conflict and violence that most of its infrastructure is destroyed and a large number of its people are refugees. Combined with an economy centered around drugs, Afghanistan’s place on this list is perhaps not a surprise.
Long beset by conflict, Sudan used to be one of the biggest nations in Africa until its recent split with South Sudan. Ethnic cleansing, civil war, and other conflicts have led to instabilities that provide fertile soil for corruption.
The only thing that prevents North Korea from coming dead last is the fact that it actually has a government (unlike Somalia for the better part of the last two decades). Other than that this nation needs no explanation.
Until a new internationally backed government was restored in 2012, Somalia was basically a no-man’s land of pirates, warlords, and gangs. Unfortunately the country has a long way to go before things get cleared up.