The Three Most Corrupt Countries in the World

Transparency International has released the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) which surveys 180 countries and scores them based on precepted levels of corruption. The organisation says that global peace has been deteriorating for 15 years, and corruption has a big part to play in that.

Types of corruption include bribery, nepotism in government and civil service, diversion of public funds, and lack of access to information on government activities. In the index, a score of 100 would mean the country is “very clean” and a score of 0 would mean the nation is “highly corrupt”.

Below, we look into the three most corrupt countries in the world, investigating the kinds of corruption that occur and what has caused the corruption.


Somalia has the lowest score on the CPI, making it the most corrupt country in the world. The East African country has a score of 12, showing a decrease from the previous year’s score of 11 but an improvement on the score of 8 that Somalia had from 2012 to 2015.

Why is Somalia the most corrupt country?

Part of the reason that Somalia has such a low score is due to consistent levels of extreme poverty, conflict and civil war that have occurred in the country for years. The country is also facing a severe drought which could lead to a famine. This has created an environment where corruption has been able to thrive. Corruption in Somalia appears to be present throughout the country’s regime, including the judicial system, the police and security forces, public services, and administration.

The issue of corruption in Syria is exacerbated by a lack of a stable central government and an inability to pay public officials. This leads to bribery and extortion with minimal repercussions, if any, for the perpetrators. There have also been reports of money taken from the Central Somalian Bank that has been used for private purposes, as well as money received by the Government that has been unaccounted for.

Leaders such as Hassan Sheikh Mohamud that have been previously criticized for corruption and abuse of power have been reelected, albeit with promises to move forward from past indiscretions.

Somalia’s anti-corruption measures

The country has taken steps to address corruption and implement anti-corruption measures. Public awareness campaigns have been initiated to tackle corruption in the public sector and to bolster good governance. Cabinet ministers in government are asked to sign a code of ethics for transparency and more stringent protocols have been put in place.

Somalia has an Anti-Corruption Commission which is able to carry out formal investigations into suspected corruption. The commission can monitor public officials and review government decisions. There have also been steps taken to improve the transparency of Somali funds, with a management board created to monitor activity.


Syria is the joint second most corrupt country in the world, according to the CPI. The middle eastern country has a score of 13 and has consistently scored 13 or 14 since 2016.

What makes Syria one of the most corrupt countries?

Throughout the 2010s, Syria has faced conflict and civil war, and during this time corruption has been able to take hold.

Research has shown that bribery is one of the most common types of corruption in Syria and it affects a lot of the public sector as well as private businesses. It appears to be especially widespread in the judicial system and security services.

The research also shows that there have been instances of power abuses, which can sometimes link to bribery and extortion. Leaders will coerce people into giving them a financial or moral payoff. There have also been reports of the Syrian government demonstrating abuses of power, such as using starvation as a weapon on its citizens, as well as unlawful detention and even torture.

Syria’s anti-corruption measures

Syria is still struggling with corruption while it continues to deal with conflict, poverty, and disease outbreaks across the country. It has been suggested that Syria would need to begin with stabilising and reforming government institutions in order to properly fight corruption. The country would also need to adjust its legislation to outlaw corruption – as it stands, bribery is not illegal in the private sector.

South Sudan

South Sudan is the joint-second most corrupt country in the world according to the CPI. Like Syria, South Sudan scored 13, an improvement on its last score of 11.

What makes South Sudan one of the most corrupt countries?

South Sudan, in East Africa, is another country that has been troubled with conflict, and poverty, which has created an environment for corruption. In 2011, South Sudan gained independence but has since dealt with hostilities with Sudan. South Sudan has also struggled with instability within its own government as well as lack of infrastructure.

The main types of corruption in South Sudan have been reported to be bureaucratic corruption, political corruption, patronage and embezzlement. There have been reports that the government has taken more than $73 million since 2018 from public funds, but the government has denied this. There have also been accusations of nepotism within the government.

South Sudan’s anti-corruption measures

South Sudan has an Anti-Corruption Commission which has the power to investigate and prosecute corrupt officials. However, a report has shown that no officials have been prosecuted for corruption and there have not been any investigations.

Even so, officials have been asked to account for missing funds, and in some cases, these funds have been returned. In addition to this, presidential decrees have been issued attempting to combat corruption and create a more transparent government.

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