The Most Corrupt Countries in the World

Corruption can often involve the unlawful collection of funds.
Corruption can often involve the unlawful collection of funds.

Corruption is the unlawful diversion of public funds and resources for personal or inappropriate use. It encompasses achieving unfair advantages in employment, procurement, and other services. Depending on the sector where corruption takes place and the amount of money that is lost, it can be classified as grand, political, and petty. Every year, Transparency International releases the global Corruption Perception Index (CPI) which ranks countries from the least corrupt to the most corrupt. The index is based on several investigations and assessments of institutionalized corruption collected through institutions of high repute. In many of the countries that were found to be corrupt, some people may not know whether they are engaging in corruption or not because corrupt deeds have become so common.

The Most Corrupt Countries in the World


CPI collects the views of independent professionals and observers in a country. Both citizen's and non-citizen's views are collected. The CPI data is based on perception as there is no complete way to access corruption through empirical data. Although corrupt deeds are concealed, they occasionally come out through scandals, inquiries or trails which allows independent institutions the ability to assess the public sector in the most reliable methodology. Countries are only ranked if they are included in at least three CPI data sources. Countries are sometimes not featured in CPI as a result of insufficient information. In 2017, 179 countries were indexed on a scale of 0 to 100 with 100 meaning there is no corruption at all.


Africa produced 18 of the 30 most corrupt countries in the world, followed by Asia and South America. Somalia ranked as the most corrupt country on the planet with a score of 10 closely followed by the world’s newest state, South Sudan, with a score of 11. Apart from corruption, the top 10 most corrupt countries have other similarities such as insecurity and dictatorial regimes that suppress freedoms. The majority of the most corrupt countries are still developing countries. The data shows a link between corruption and inequality in wealth and power distribution. Public institutions such as judiciary and security services are tainted with corruption to the extent that citizens do not trust them and would rather not seek any help from such institutions. Countries like Kenya have put proper laws into place to curb corruption, but implementation has always been elusive. The elites in these countries loot resources and invest in foreign businesses using foreign banks. In developing countries, most of the ruling class is way richer than their counterparts. Due to the inability of law enforcement to tackle corruption, governments often misuse public resources for their personal gain and wealth in many of these corrupt countries.


Corruption has led to economic turmoil, poverty and in some cases, conflict. The thirty most corrupt countries on earth lack strong state institutions, commitment, policies, and policing. Corruption has been perpetuated by the ruling elite and those within the state monopoly of power. The situation is dangerous and has led citizens to turn to populist politicians, who in turn, promise to tackle corruption but solely aim at taking part in corruption once elected.

The Most Corrupt Countries in the World

RankCountry NameIndex Score (/100)
2South Sudan11
3North Korea12
14Republic of Congo20
17Central African Republic20
20Democratic Republic of Congo21

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