Which Countries Are Seen as Most Corrupt?
Transparency International, the nongovernmental organization based in Germany, defines corruption as the misuse of public power for private benefit. The organization’s most recent version of its Corruption Perceptions Index also states that the failure to significantly control corruption is fueling a global crisis in democracy.
Iraq is perceived to be the most corrupt country in the world, according to U.S. News’ 2021 Best Countries rankings, a characterization of 78 countries based on a survey of more than 17,000 global citizens. In the survey, respondents answered how closely they related each of the countries to the term “not corrupt,” the exact meaning of which was left to their own interpretation. The attribute is factored into the Best Countries rankings for transparency, as well as the best countries to invest in and headquarter a corporation. Iraq finished last among survey respondents.
The Iraqi Commission of Integrity announced that it had charged 63 current and former government ministers with 92 counts of corruption in 2020. A 2018 estimate by the World Bank says that oil accounts for about 90% of central government revenue, while a younger generation of activists continues to criticize the nation’s reliance on oil, arguing that it fuels corruption.
The United States is ranked as No. 24 for being seen as not corrupt, a drop of two positions from 2020. Conversely, Denmark, Canada and Germany are seen as the most transparent countries in the 2021 Best Countries rankings.
The following are the 10 countries perceived to be the most corrupt:
Corrupt Rank: 10
Best Countries Overall Rank: 66
9. El Salvador
Corrupt Rank: 9
Best Countries Overall Rank: 77
Corrupt Rank: 8
Best Countries Overall Rank: 74
Corrupt Rank: 7
Best Countries Overall Rank: 72
Corrupt Rank: 6
Best Countries Overall Rank: 69
Corrupt Rank: 5
Best Countries Overall Rank: 24
Corrupt Rank: 4
Overall Best Countries Rank: 26
Corrupt Rank: 3
Best Countries Overall Rank: 31
Corrupt Rank: 2
Best Countries Overall Rank: 54
Corrupt Rank: 1
Best Countries Overall Rank: 78
The 10 Most Corrupt Countries
9. El Salvador
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The 2021 Best Countries rankings, formed in partnership with BAV Group, a unit of global marketing communications company VMLY&R, and The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, are based on a study that surveyed more than 17,000 global citizens from four regions to assess perceptions of 78 countries on 76 different metrics.
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