These are the most corrupt countries in the world

These are the most corrupt countries in the world

Somalia, South Sudan and Syria are the most corrupt countries in the world, according to newly released figures.

The UK has come in 10th at the other end of the corruption rankings, making it one of the world’s least corrupt countries, with Ireland 19th.

Experts from non-profit Transparency International consulted business people and local experts to give each country a rating out of 100, with zero being the most corrupt and 100 being the least, to create its corruption perceptions index.

A graphic illustrating the most corrupt countries in red and the 'cleanest' in yellow
A map showing the most corrupt countries in red (Transparency International)

Here are 2016's most corrupt and least corrupt countries, and corruption movers and shakers.


The ambassador meets the queen
Somali ambassador Abdullahi Mohamed Ali meets the Queen (Yui Mok/PA)

For the 10th year running Somalia was ranked the most corrupt out of 176 countries rated, and given a score of just 10 out of 100 by Transparency International.

The country is fighting an insurgency from the al Qaida-affiliated group Al Shabaab, and there were reports of up to £4,000 bribes being made during parliamentary elections in the country last year.

South Sudan

This East-Central African nation only got its independence from Sudan in 2011, before a civil war displaced 2.2 million of its people.

The BBC reports that media freedom is limited, and newspapers criticising the ruling party have been confiscated. Press freedom is one of Transparency International's considerations, and helped them decide South Sudan is the second most corrupt country in the world.

North Korea

The country that keeps so much hidden was deemed by Transparency International to be the third most corrupt in the world.


People walk through mounds of rubble in eastern Aleppo, Syria
People walk through mounds of rubble in eastern Aleppo, Syria (Hassan Ammar/AP)

Syria scored just 13 out of 100 and was ranked the fourth most corrupt.

Unsurprising considering the country is still in the depths of a civil war.

Corruption also puts refugees fleeing from the country in danger. According to Transparency International, smuggling refugees relies on the practice, from the sale of fake life jackets to the widespread bribery of officials.


The fifth most corrupt was Sudan, tied with Yemen and Libya, with a score of 14.

Sudan's leader, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, came to power in a coup in 1989, and The Hague has since released a warrant for his arrest over charges of genocide and war crimes, after conflict in West Darfur between government and rebel forces.


Theresa May meets Qatar's head of state, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani (Carl Court/PA)
Theresa May meets Qatar’s head of state, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani (Carl Court/PA)

Although Qatar is the 31st least corrupt country, it’s seen the biggest increase in corruption perception, dropping 10 places since last year.

Transparency International’s chair, José Ugaz said: “The FIFA scandals, the investigations into the decision to host the World Cup in 2022 in Qatar and reports of human rights abuses for migrant workers have clearly affected the perception of the country.”


Theresa May at Number 10 while a policeman watches on
Theresa May going into Number 10 (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

As for the UK's performance, we're up there with the least corrupt. Tied with Germany, it’s up to 10th least corrupt nation, coming behind Canada and Sweden, and scoring 81/100.

New Zealand and Denmark were declared the least corrupt countries in the world, and both got scores of 90.

These figures judged the perceived corruption in a country’s public sector, which is important considering the increase in populist leaders promising upheaval. These leaders tend to increase corruption in the long run, though.

Countries like Turkey and Hungary with their all-powerful leaders have become more corrupt in the rankings since last year, while countries like Argentina, which has just ousted a populist leader, have become less corrupt.

“We do not have the luxury of time. Corruption needs to be fought with urgency, so that the lives of people across the world improve,” said Ugaz.

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