The Most Corrupt Countries in the World

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3. Afghanistan
> Corruption index score (0-100):
11
> Population: 32.0 million
> Region: Europe & Central Asia
> GDP per capita: $1,957.64

Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani last September stated that fixing corruption in the country would be the top agenda item for his administration. According to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), approximately $110 billion of relief, reconstruction, and development funds have gone to Afghanistan between 2002 and the middle of last year. The country is still heavily dependent on foreign aid. In 2013, assistance net of repayments totalled $5.3 billion, down from previous years but still the second highest of all countries reviewed. Large portions of these funds have been squandered. For example, SIGAR reported that the country’s Ministry of Education falsified the number of schools and teachers it had in order to increase international funding. Fewer than one-third of Afghani adults are considered literate, one of the lowest literacy rates of countries reviewed.

2. Somalia
> Corruption index score (0-100):
8 (tied-the worst)
> Population: N/A
> Region: Sub-Saharan Africa
> GDP per capita: N/A

Since the overthrow of its president in 1991, Somalia has struggled to establish a permanent government amid violent infighting and the most severe famine on the planet. What little government does exist in the country is highly corrupt. According to a U.N. Monitoring Group report, 80% of withdrawals from the federal Central Bank of Somalia are for private purposes. According to the report, the private withdrawals are suspected to finance terrorist activity. There is evidence of direct diversion of humanitarian aid to private wealth.

According to a U.N. report from October 2015, the Somali National Army is the most important defense against the territorial gains being made by Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Shabaab that threatens the nation’s stability. However, misappropriation of defense funding within the army has jeopardized the military’s proper functioning. The army systematically inflates its enrollment numbers to ensure larger salaries, and cash payments make accountability even more challenging. There is also evidence the army is frequently using violence against civilians.

1. North Korea
> Corruption index score (0-100):
8 (tied-the worst)
> Population: N/A
> Region: Asia Pacific
> GDP per capita: N/A

Little is known of North Korea, which may itself be evidence of how corrupt it is compared to the rest of the world. The extreme level of corruption in the country, while likely detrimental to long-term economic growth, may also be a relatively positive force in the country. For one, corruption is normal in North Korea. Some analysts have suggested, for example, that if all bribes and embezzlement ceased in the country today, the enforcement of government regulations would trigger complete economic collapse.

While it may be difficult to directly link corruption in North Korea with the struggles of ordinary citizens, the country shares a number of negative factors with other countries at the bottom of Transparency International’s Corruption Index. Fewer than 30% of North Koreans have access to electricity, for example, one of the lowest proportions of any country reviewed.