On Anti-Corruption Day, the Most and Least Corrupt Countries

On Anti-Corruption Day, the Most and Least Corrupt Countries

Around the world, many countries are dealing with a big problem – corruption. It’s causing trouble for businesses and holding back progress in different places. December 9th is International Anti-Corruption Day, and these countries are rated best and worst on the Corruption Perceptions Index.

The Corrupt 10

corrupt countries jpg

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

From Libya, where corruption is affecting industries like oil and public procurement, to Haiti, facing widespread corruption, crime, and violence, each country has its unique struggles. Dive into the details of corruption in Afghanistan, Guinea-Bissau, Sudan, North Korea, Yemen, Syria, Somalia, Venezuela, and Haiti, exploring their Corruption Perceptions Index scores and how corruption impacts various aspects of their societies.


Shutterstock Tripoli Libya jpg

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

CPI Score 17

Corruption is a big problem for businesses in Libya, especially in public procurement and the oil industry. All sectors face issues like bribery, favoritism, and unfair competition from state-owned companies.

The situation has worsened since the revolution, with weak institutions, political instability, and violence undermining the rule of law. The ongoing process of writing a new constitution adds to the challenges, making the judiciary and security forces ineffective and law enforcement weak.


Shutterstock republicans afghanistan jpg

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

CPI Score 24

In Afghanistan, companies are at a high risk of encountering corruption in various sectors and institutions. Expect regular bribery, nepotism, and cronyism in business dealings. This widespread corruption has a negative impact on public services and the country’s overall development.

While Afghan laws criminalize activities like bribery and abuse of public office, enforcement is lacking. Although facilitation payments and gifts are officially prohibited, they are still commonly practiced.


Guinea Bissau jpg

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

CPI Score 21

Guinea-Bissau is grappling with serious corruption issues, earning a low score of 21 on the Corruption Perceptions Index. This widespread corruption is hurting public services and overall development. The country has had a history of instability since gaining independence in 1974, with frequent coups.

Notably, the government is deeply involved in drug trafficking, making Guinea-Bissau known as the world’s only “narco-state.” Corruption is present in various sectors, including a lack of transparency in finances, political corruption related to drug trafficking, and weaknesses in security and the legal system. This corruption also negatively affects businesses, with many firms reporting bribery and corrupt practices.


SUDAN slideshow 2020 jpg

Photo Credit: Twenty20.

CPI Score 22

Corruption is a big problem in Sudan, making it one of the most corrupt countries globally. Public servants often ask for extra payments for services people or companies should get without paying more. Government officials have interests in many businesses, leading to favoritism and unfair competition that harms foreign companies without political ties.

Corruption by officials is widespread, and weak enforcement and a lack of transparency contribute to the problem. Although laws say no to bribery and gifts in the public sector, they’re not strongly enforced.

North Korea

Shutterstock republicans korea jpg

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

CPI Score 17

Corruption is a significant and growing problem in North Korea, as shown by its low ranking on the Corruption Perceptions Index, with a score of 17. The strict rules set by the government, like limiting access to foreign media, are often sidestepped through bribery.

While reporting on colleagues and family members has become less common, the state media in North Korea openly admitted to widespread corruption during accusations against Jang Song-thaek after his execution in December 2013. The charges included bribery, misusing resources, and mishandling money by organizations under his control.


YEMEN slideshow 2020 jpg

Photo Credit: Twenty20.

CPI Score 16

Corruption is widespread in Yemen, and the ongoing political turmoil since 2011 has made it even more challenging for businesses. Patronage networks and favoritism make it difficult for companies to operate, as they often need a local partner to navigate through competing centers of authority.

While the government has implemented anti-corruption laws, they don’t cover all forms of corruption, leaving out practices like passive bribery and extortion. Bribery and giving gifts are common in Yemen.


Damascus Syria jpg

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

CPI Score 13

Corruption in Syria involves government officials misusing their power for personal gain. On the Corruption Perceptions Index, Syria scored a low 13, ranking 178th out of 180 countries, indicating a lack of integrity in its public sector.

During the Syrian Civil War, the country earned a reputation as a “narco-state” due to its significant involvement in drug production and distribution. The 4th Armoured Division, led by Maher al-Assad, oversees this illicit trade, reinforcing Syria’s association with drug-related activities in the Mediterranean.


Shutterstock MOGADISHU SOMALIA jpg

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

CPI Score 12

Somalia is known as one of the most corrupt countries globally, facing major challenges due to insecurity that severely impacts businesses. Corrupt government officials often allow illegal activities in exchange for bribes. The lack of effective institutions leads to a lawless environment, and the absence of proper regulations makes it hard for the country to compete economically.

Business relies heavily on favoritism, and monopolies tightly control the market. Despite Somalia’s laws against corruption, their enforcement is practically non-existent. The country’s leaders continually face accusations of embezzling public funds, worsening Somalia’s already scarce resources. Bribery is widespread across all sectors, often playing a role in corrupt practices within procurement contracts.


VENEZUELA slideshow 2020 jpg

Photo Credit: Twenty20.

CPI Score 14

Doing business in Venezuela is challenging due to significant corruption issues across various sectors. The country’s legal system, aimed at addressing corruption, lacks effectiveness, partly because of political influences. Although laws criminalize offenses like extortion and bribery, there’s no specific provision against bribing foreign officials.

Enforcement of these laws is weak, allowing government officials to engage in corrupt practices without facing consequences. Widespread bribery, facilitation payments, and the common practice of giving gifts for unfair advantages further complicate the business landscape in Venezuela.


Shutterstock dangerous cities Port au Prince Haiti jpg

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

CPI Score 17

Haiti is dealing with serious corruption problems, ranking 171st out of 180 countries in the Corruption Perceptions Index. The country is also facing widespread corruption, gang violence, and organized crime, impacting public finances and the rule of law due to political instability.

Around 60% of the population lives in poverty, and corruption is a significant issue throughout the government and needs considerable improvement. According to the Heritage Foundation, Haiti is known for having challenging business conditions with outdated regulations. Despite efforts to reform, police corruption remains a big problem, adding to the overall struggle with corruption in the country.

The Uncorrupt 10

anti corruption countries jpg

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

The least corrupt countries globally are based on their strong CPI scores. It begins with Denmark, a historical Scandinavian nation, and delves into the unique qualities of each country. From Finland’s centennial celebrations and democratic practices to New Zealand’s diverse influences and commitment to being nuclear-free, the article covers a range of nations.

Norway’s wealth from oil, Singapore’s economic growth, Sweden’s commitment to neutrality, Switzerland’s dedication to staying neutral, the Netherlands’ open-mindedness, Luxembourg’s financial strength, and Germany’s global influence complete the list. The article presents each country with a focus on its notable features, cultural aspects, and participation in international organizations.

Denmark CPI Score 88

Shutterstock denmark jpg

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

CPI Score 88

Denmark has been around since the 10th century and includes the Faroe Islands and Greenland, forming Scandinavia with Sweden and Norway. Copenhagen, the capital, is a significant international hub and has important institutions.

Denmark has been a constitutional monarchy since 1849. Denmark has a system of progressive taxes that provides citizens with free healthcare and education, promoting social mobility. The country has leading industries like food processing, tourism, and manufacturing. Denmark actively participates in various international organizations as a NATO founding member, including the European Union, United Nations, Nordic Council, OECD, and OSCE.


Shutterstock helsinki finland jpg

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

CPI Score 88

Finland became independent in 1917 after being ruled by Sweden and Russia. Celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2017, Finland’s identity is deeply tied to its cultural heritage, especially the influential “Kalevala.” Operating as a parliamentary democracy, Finland stands out for its achievements in education, civil rights, and quality of life. Leading in women’s rights, Finland combines a free-market economy with strong social safety nets.

After World War II, the country shifted from agriculture to industry, with one-third of its economy now coming from international trade. Despite recent economic challenges, like a recession, Finland faces issues such as an aging population and sustaining its welfare state. Active globally and regionally, Finland is a member of the United Nations, the World Bank, the European Union, and the Nordic Council.

New Zealand

New Zealand Shutterstock 230599006

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

CPI Score 88

New Zealand, a beautiful island nation southeast of Australia, has a mix of British and Polynesian influences. New Zealand has been a self-governing democracy, and in 2017, Jacinda Ardern became the world’s youngest female leader as the Prime Minister. With most people of European descent and about 14 percent Maori, the majority live on the north island, especially in Auckland.

After gaining independence, New Zealand diversified its exports, developed industries, and maintained a high standard of living. Declared a nuclear-free zone in 1980, New Zealand actively participates in global peacekeeping and is involved in international organizations like the United Nations, OECD, APEC, and Pacific Islands Forum.


Shutterstock Mental Norway jpg

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

CPI Score 85

Norway, the westernmost Scandinavian country, has mountains and a population mainly around the capital, Oslo, with a beautiful coastline of fjords and islands. It became independent from Sweden in 1905 and faced Nazi occupation in World War II.

Thanks to discovering oil and gas in the 1960s, Norway is now a top exporter, making it a wealthy country. It’s a monarchy with Lutheranism as the main religion, and it deals with challenges like integrating refugees, an aging population, and economic competition as oil prices drop. Norway, a NATO member since 1949, said no to joining the EU in 1972 and 1994.


SINGAPORE slideshow 2020 jpg

Photo Credit: Twenty20.

CPI Score 85

Singapore, a bustling Southeast Asian city, started as a British trading colony in the 19th century. After gaining self-governance in 1959, it briefly joined Malaysia but became independent in 1965. Known for its strict laws, Singapore is a parliamentary republic with impressive economic growth, especially in electronics and pharmaceuticals.

It faces challenges like rapid population growth and urbanization, leading to concerns about living costs and environmental issues. Multilingual and diverse, Singapore plays a significant role in international trade, hosting the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and being part of organizations like the ASEAN Regional Forum, the United Nations, and the World Trade Organization.


Shutterstock stockholm sweden jpg

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

CPI Score 85

Sweden, located between Norway and the Baltic Sea, is a big part of the European Union, covering most of the Scandinavian Peninsula. Its capital, Stockholm, has been around since the 13th century. Even though Sweden has a military history, it has chosen to stay neutral in wars, focusing on things like human rights, public services, and sustainability, which has earned it respect worldwide.

Following a Nordic model, Sweden mixes a capitalist economy with a lot of spending on public services, good infrastructure, and a fair tax system. They offer free healthcare and education, and Swedes are excellent at recycling. Sweden works as a parliamentary democracy, and although it joined the EU in 1995, it decided not to use the euro after a public vote in 2003. Being a close partner of NATO and part of various global organizations like the UN and WTO, Sweden actively participates in global matters.


Shutterstock zurich switzerland jpg

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

CPI Score 84

Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation, is a small and prosperous country in Central Europe known for its beautiful mountains and commitment to staying neutral in conflicts. It was established in 1291 and became independent from the Holy Roman Empire in 1499.

Thanks to low corporate taxes and thriving industries, Switzerland has a strong economy with low unemployment and high income levels. The country recognizes four official languages: German, French, Italian, and Romansh. Switzerland has stayed neutral in world wars and isn’t part of the European Union. It hosts organizations like the Red Cross and joined the United Nations in 2002, being a member of the IMF, WTO, and World Bank.


The Netherlands healthcare report - banner

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

CPI Score 82

The Netherlands, located along Europe’s coast, is famous for windmills and major rivers. Established in 1815, it changed its territories in 2010 but kept Aruba, Curacao, and Sint Maarten. Known for being open-minded, it legalized same-gender marriage in 2001 and has liberal views on various issues.

With most people living in cities like Randstad, it’s a wealthy country known for advanced farming. Governed by a king and a parliament, the Netherlands is active in global peacekeeping and hosts international courts in The Hague. It’s a founding member of NATO, supports the European Union, and manages a surplus through open-market strategies.


Shutterstock Mental Luxembourg jpg

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

CPI Score 81

Luxembourg is a small, wealthy country in Western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. As a parliamentary constitutional monarchy, Luxembourg is the EU’s wealthiest nation per person, with a strong finance sector and major trade partners like Germany and France.

The country has three official languages and faces challenges in integrating its diverse population. Recently, Luxembourg’s role as a global tax haven has been criticized. It played a crucial part in starting the European Economic Community and now houses EU institutions, NATO, and the United Nations, making Luxembourg City an important European capital.


Shutterstock Munich Germany jpg

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

CPI Score 80

Germany, the most populated country in the EU and a major global economic player, has become increasingly influential since reunification in 1990. Its diverse landscape includes the northern plains and the Bavarian Alps. With a social market economy combining capitalism and social services, Germany excels in global trade, particularly in services like telecommunications, health care, and tourism, alongside significant contributions from industry and agriculture.

Despite demographic challenges with an aging population, the majority of the population is ethnically German, with notable minority groups like Turks and other Europeans. Known for cultural contributions to sciences, arts, literature, and philosophy, Germany hosts popular folk festivals like Oktoberfest. Germany remains a key player globally, engaged in major international organizations like the UN, EU, NATO, and OECD.

+ posts

Jessica Clark is a writer and blogger living in the Midwest and a dedicated mom and wife. Since 2011, she's been sharing her stories and thoughts online as a freelance writer. Besides writing, Jessica enjoys spending time with her family, singing, crocheting, reading, and playing video games.

Cigna March 2024 ad for desktop
Cigna March 2024 ad - mobile
Cigna March 2024 ad for desktop
Cigna March 2024 ad - mobile
+ posts

Jessica Clark is a writer and blogger living in the Midwest and a dedicated mom and wife. Since 2011, she's been sharing her stories and thoughts online as a freelance writer. Besides writing, Jessica enjoys spending time with her family, singing, crocheting, reading, and playing video games.