If you live in the U.S., here is one more reason to be thankful.
Transparency International, an anti-corruption group, put together a list of the most corrupt countries in the world for 2010, and the U.S. is nowhere near the worst. In fact, of 178 countries studied, America ranks as the 22nd least corrupt, with Denmark and New Zealand topping the least corrupt list.
The Corruption Perceptions Index ranks countries based on the perception of corruption in the public sector. In order to do so, the researchers compile results from more than a dozen surveys with residents to determine the level of bribery, kickbacks and embezzlements that take place among public officials in each country.
Unfortunately, the study found that corruption still remains a global issue.
Three quarters of the countries surveyed scored between zero and five out of a high of 10, meaning most countries in the world have high amounts of corruption.
“These results signal that significantly greater efforts must go into strengthening governance across the globe,” said Huguette Labelle, chair of Transparency International, in a press release. “We need to see more enforcement of existing rules and laws. There should be nowhere to hide for the corrupt or their money.”
Here are the 10 countries with the most perceived corruption with their score out of 10 (remember: the lower it is, the more corrupt it is).
10th Most Corrupt: Equatorial Guinea
For Guinea, much of the corruption problem has to do with its newfound oil wealth. According to a report from Human Rights Watch, Equatorial Guinea’s gross domestic product has increased by more than 5,000% since the early ‘90s due to increased oil sales, but the standard of living in the country remains largely unchanged. That money is going somewhere, just not to the majority of the population.
Photo Credit: Perry-Castaneda Library Map Collection
9th Most Corrupt: Burundi
A previous report from Transparency International found that Burundi has a bribery rate of 36.7%, making it the most bribe-friendly country in east Africa. In fact, things have gotten so bad in Burundi that the country made headlines last year when an unknown group of people kidnapped and murdered Ernest Manirumva, a leading anti-corruption figure. This country still has a long way to go.
Photo Credit: Safety Nets WB
8th Most Corrupt: Chad
Chad has long been listed among the most corrupt countries on the planet, although to be fair, Transparency International named it the most corrupt country back in 2005, so coming in at number eight is somewhat of an improvement. Like Guinea, Chad has benefited from oil resources, yet much of that money fails to end up in the hands of the people and is instead snatched up by those in charge or used on bogus public projects.
Photo Credit: Andriyko_UA
6th Most Corrupt: Turkmenistan
According to the U.S. State Department, corruption is particularly bad in Turkmenistan because the president is the absolute center of power with complete control of the judicial system, which also leaves more room for the system to be corrupted.
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4th Most Corrupt: Iraq
The dictator may be out of Iraq, but the corruption remains. In fact, to some extent, our efforts at reconstruction have only added to the country’s corruption, as thousands of dollars in foreign money intended to help rebuild Iraq may have been used for other means.
Photo Credit: US Army
3rd Most Corrupt: Afghanistan
Corruption in Afghanistan continues to be a major issue going forward. One survey earlier this year from the United Nations found that the majority of residents (54%) believe public dishonesty is a bigger concern than unemployment and for good reason. The same report also found that Afghan citizens paid out $2.5 billion in bribes. This corruption extends all the way to the top, with one top aide to the country’s president reportedly accepting a “bag of cash” from Iran.
Photo Credit: US Army
The Most Corrupt: Somalia
Somalia has had the dubious distinction of being the most corrupt country in the world now for three consecutive years. Much of the country is effectively lawless, with no functioning government. As a result, it’s become a breeding ground for pirates, thieves and terrorists, and little seems to be changing. One U.N. report from earlier this year criticized the country’s officials for working with pirates and allowing food aid to be stolen. In response, the country’s president said this report was not based on reality. Either this country’s politicians are incredibly corrupt, or just in total denial.
Photo Credit: Sand Paper
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