Communist North Korea, lawless Somalia, and war-torn Afghanistan are regarded as the most corrupt countries in the world says a new report on perceptions of corruption.
Countries like Greece and Egypt are also seen to have crippling problems, according to the latest findings from Transparency International.
The new rankings did not offer much surprise, except that several countries that went through the “Arab Spring” unrest were listed as perceived to be more corrupt than they were a year prior. Egypt, the site of numerous protests and riots that toppled longtime President Hosni Mubarak and currently are directed at President Mohamed Morsi, slipped lower in the rankings from 112th to 118th.
Transparency International’s corruption ranking is based on how corrupt its public sector is perceived to be and is not a quantitative assessment of the incidents of corruption occurring in each country. Nonetheless, the report underscores that corruption remains a persistent and widespread problem across the world.
“Corruption destroys lives and communities, and undermines countries and institutions. It generates popular anger that threatens to further destabilize societies and exacerbate violent conflicts,” reads a release from Transparency International.
“Corruption translates into human suffering, with poor families being extorted for bribes to see doctors or to get access to clean drinking water,” says the release.
Around two-thirds of the 176 ranked countries scored 50 or less out of 100.
“A growing outcry over corrupt governments forced several leaders from office last year, but as the dust has cleared it has become apparent that the levels of bribery, abuse of power, and secret dealings are still very high in many countries,” said Transparency International in a statement.
Countries perceived by their citizens to be least corrupt are Denmark, Finland, and New Zealand, which were tied for first, scoring a 90 on the metric, while Australia, Sweden, Norway, Canada, and Switzerland also ranked high. The United States was ranked 19th, scoring 73.
With a score of 36, Greece ranked last in Europe replacing Bulgaria for last place. Greece has received a number of loans from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. Italy and Romania also ranked relatively low, scoring 42 and 44 respectively.
In Latin America, Venezuela was ranked last with a score of only 19, while Uruguay and Chile scored 72—the best in the region.
The group said that priorities in combating corruption include better measures on lobbying, political financing, and making public spending and contracting more transparent.
“The world’s leading economies should lead by example, making sure that their institutions are fully transparent and their leaders are held accountable,” Cobus de Swardt, the managing director of the group, said in a statement.
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