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Somalia, Afghanistan, Myanmar Head Top 10 List of Most Corrupt Countries

After recent reports that Afghan President Hamid Karzai and other government officials received bags of cash from Iran, it’s no surprise that Afghanistan would be near the top of a ranking published last week of the most corrupt countries in the world.

The Corruption Perceptions Index from Transparency International, a nongovernmental organization based in Berlin and operating in 70 countries, ranked the Central Asian country second only to Somalia and tied with Myanmar for its perceived level of government corruption.

The annual CPI, first published by TI in 1995, aggregates results from 13 different surveys, though not all surveys cover all countries. The surveys used for the 2010 index took place between January 2009 and September 2010. Businesses often use the index to assess corruption risk in foreign countries.

The ranking of 178 countries, which goes from “highly corrupt” at 0 to “very clean” at 10, assigned a 1.1 to Somalia – the East African country where piracy is a way of life for many – and 1.4 to Afghanistan and Myanmar (the former Burma). At the “very clean” end of the scale, Denmark, New Zealand and Singapore tied for top honors with a score of 9.3. See tables at end.

“Nearly three-quarters of the countries surveyed scored less than 5,” TI chairman Huguette Labelle said, “indicating a severe problem.”

The United States, which ranked 19th “cleanest” in the 2009 index, slipped out of the top 20 this year, coming in at 22nd place. Other industrial countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development also declined in the rankings or failed to improve.

For its part, Russia fell to 154th from 146th last year, putting it among the top 25 most corrupt countries and making it the most corrupt of the Group of 20 leading economies.

“With governments committing huge sums to tackle the world's most pressing problems, from the instability of financial markets to climate change and poverty, corruption remains an obstacle to achieving much-needed progress,” Transparency International said in its report.

The group urged countries to renew efforts to adhere to the UN Convention Against Corruption, which became effective in 2005 and legally binds it 140 state signatories (including Afghanistan) to specific anti-corruption measures.

In addition, TI said that its assessment of the 36 industrialized countries party to the OECD anti-bribery convention indicated that as many as 20 show little or no enforcement of the rules, “sending the wrong signal about their commitment to curb corrupt practices.”

TOP 10 MOST CORRUPT COUNTRIES

Rank Country Score
178 Somalia   1.1
176 Afghanistan  1.4
176 Myanmar   1.4
175 Iraq   1.5
172 Uzbekistan  1.6
172 Turkmenistan  1.6
172 Sudan   1.6
171 Chad   1.7
170 Burundi   1.8
168 Equatorial Guinea 1.9
168 Angola   1.9

TOP 10 ‘CLEAN’ COUNTRIES

Rank Country Score
1 Denmark  9.3
1 New Zealand 9.3
1 Singapore 9.3
4 Finland  9.2
4 Sweden  9.2
6 Canada  8.9
7 Netherlands 8.8
8 Australia 8.7
8 Switzerland 8.7
10 Norway  8.6


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