In 2013, Transparency International developed a comprehensive list of the world’s most corrupt nations. The study by the anti-corruption body ranked countries on a scale from 0 to 100, with zero being the most corrupt, and 100 being the least.
To give further detail and give proper meaning to what Transparency International put out, the Cheat Sheet explored the first ten countries that are said to be the most corrupt countries in the world with some insightful analysis.
Some of these first ten countries are said to have specific power structures and architectures that provide an easier means for corrupt politicians, businessmen, or military officials to exploit their countries. Others are ruled by a variety of independent tribal leaders, which lack a centralized power structure with any meaningful control. Below are the first ten most corrupt countries that we have sourced from the Cheat Sheet and Transparency International.
According to the ranking, Somalia occupies the number one position as the world’s most corrupt country. It scored 8 points on the index. Somalia is a country in East Africa with no functioning government; according to the CIA Intelligence Report, the country is in the process of building a federal parliamentary republic. Ever since the United States failed, miserably I might add, to save Somalia from militants in what became known as the Black Hawk Down incident, the country has virtually fallen into the militants’ (known as Al Shabab) hands. There has also been a significant increase in pirate activity, capturing passing ships in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean. Due to the instability, no proper elections take place in Somalia. Parliamentarians are elected by tribal leaders and parliamentarians then elect a President. This makes information on the inner workings of Somalia’s government and its economic system very secretive. Corrupt officials are openly taking advantage of the chaos in the country to perpetrate their objectives. According to The World Bank, only 29% of the country’s population has been enrolled in school, and life expectancy is only 55 years.
North Korea placed second; it also scored 8 points. The power structure in North Korea is absolute dictatorship. Over the past half-century, the country has been ruled by dictators Kim Jong Sun and Kim Jong Il. Citizens refer these leaders as Supreme Leaders. North Korea’s government operates in secrecy with few people having access to the top. The country has had problems producing enough fuel and food to properly care for its citizens. The country spends more resources on its military than on social issues. Western observers have predicted that with little hope for change in the near future, North Korea is destined to remain one of the world’s most corrupt and impoverish countries.
The third most corrupt country is the Republic of Sudan. Sudan scored 11 points in the ranking. The North African country has been wreathed in war for many years. Long-standing conflicts between competing factions and ethnic groups have destabilized the country’s ability to efficiently operate from an economic standpoint. The result has been devastating to many of the country’s citizens. South Sudan has also recently broken-off from the rest of the country, taking with it its vast oil reserves. The country’s government is listed as a federal republic, ruled by the National Congress Party (NCP). The NCP came to power after a coup d’état in 1989, and has not been able to successfully repair the country’s social problems ever since. According to The World Bank, 64.5% of its citizens live under the poverty line. Its GDP stands at $66.55 billion. According to observers, these statistics were likely to see improvement in recent years, if not for some of the draconian and growth-inhibiting policies of the ruling government led by President Omar Al Bashir.
The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan scored 12 points, placing fourth. Afghanistan has a long history of instability. The country has been loosely held together by a central government that largely lacks power. Various militant groups have taken advantage and run areas under their jurisdictions according to their whims and caprices. It is also said that the previous President of the country, Hamid Karzai was very corrupt. He has been fingered in a recent report for allegedly taking huge sums of money from the American military in order to allow them to access and combat militants. What this says about the American military is another question entirely.
Afghanistan is also home to an enormous amount of the world’s heroin production which has brought lots of wealth to a few corrupt people. The CIA describes the country as “Criminality, insecurity, weak governance, lack of infrastructure, and the Afghan Government’s difficulty in extending rule of law to all parts of the country pose challenges to future economic growth.” Also, let’s not forget an American invasion just prior that somehow created this situation almost in its entirety.
The fifth most corrupt country is the youngest country in Africa, South Sudan. It scored 15 points. South Sudan officially declared its independence in 2011, following long-standing conflicts with its parent country, the Republic of Sudan. Wars in the region have resulted in the deaths of as many as 2.5 million people. Because the country is young, it does not have the traditional long-standing government structures in place that many others do. This has opened the way for corrupt politicians to step in, and as a result, the country has remained mostly undeveloped, and its citizens participate in a largely subsistence-based economic system. Another issue is the lack of a sense of nationhood among the 200 or so ethnic groups occupying the country. The World Bank states that 80% of the country’s GDP is from oil. South Sudan has vast oil reserves and observers say that this “strength” has turned out to be a major problem, as international oil companies have been able to take advantage of the country’s weak government structures and regulatory policies, turning huge profits at the expense of the citizens. It is said that 85% of the country’s workforce is engaged in non-paid labor, and more than half live below the poverty line.
Iraq scored 16 points and placed sixth. Ever since the invasion of the country in 2003 by the United States, the country has been in total chaos. And to worsen the situation, the US’ pullout has created a huge power vacuum. Many different militants are fighting for power; fighting is said to be occurring between the Kurds, the Shiites and the Sunnis. Recently, the arrival of ISIS has even led to fear that the country will soon collapse. Corruption has been entrenched in the country. The country’s vast oil reserves have made it a target for war profiteers; these even include the US Government. The Cheat Sheet predicts that “the future of Iraq is probably as uncertain as any country in the world. It’s very possible that the nation will dissolve and turn into three distinct countries, as it was before Europeans entered the fray in the early 20th century”.
The seventh most corrupt country is Turkmenistan. It scored 17 points on the index. Turkmenistan is situated in a dangerous region. Bordered by Iran, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, and due to the constant turmoil in the area, it’s been very easy for the country to fall to corrupt officials. The country’s authoritarian leader, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, is said to be very corrupt; According to the CIA, Turkmenistan describes itself as a secular democracy and presidential republic but its government is an authoritarian dictatorship. The country was founded as a result of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the resulting power struggle has left the nation vulnerable. Its economy is largely based on agriculture and energy. It has vast oil and natural gas reserves, which is all strictly controlled by corrupt government officials.
The Republic of Uzbekistan scored 18 points, becoming the eighth most corrupt country. The country’s GDP grew by 8% in 2013, and The World Bank reports that its economy has resisted the impact of the financial crisis, which has crippled systems in Europe and North America. Despite its economic growth and resiliance, the government is being led by an authoritative presidential figure, Islam Karimov. He has concentrated power into his own hands.
Karimov has been president ever since Uzbekistan first became a country, after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. He has promoted his family to key positions in the country. The government is said to have been bribing and using tax incentives to attract Multinational Corporations, which then connive with the government to dupe the country’s people of huge sums of monies. Many citizens are left with nothing to eat or drink.
Libya was ranked the ninth most corrupt country. It too scored 18 points. Libya, once a peaceful country under Muammar Gaddafi, has been turned into a hub of corruption and all manner of sordid affairs. After Western Governments, rebels and the Arab League conspired to remove Gaddafi (who had distributed the country’s wealth fairly to all citizens), no formal government has been able to govern the country. The World Bank reports that the GDP of Libya had contracted by 9.4% in 2013. The power vacuum is said to have created an opportunity for arms dealers and corrupt military higher-ups who took charge of their respective factions, making profits by pitting citizens against each other. Its weak institutions are now under constant interference from foreign governments. There is no doubt that Libya was far better under Gaddafi than its current state, from one of Africa’s most prosperous it has been turned into a haven for terrorists, extremists and human traffickers.
The Single-Party Presidential Democratic nation of Eritrea in Africa was raked the tenth most corrupt country. It also scored 18 points, like Libya and Uzbekistan. Many people may have not heard of Eritrea, let alone be aware of the corruption that plagues the country.
Eritrea is located in Africa, bordering the Red Sea, and is situated directly across from Saudi Arabia, bordering Djibouti to the south and Sudan to the north. Eritrea is a small and relatively poor country, with a GDP of only $3.44 billion, and a population of 6.3 million. After years of relative self-imposed isolation, Eritrea has begun opening its borders to foreign business and investment, along with privatization of state-owned assets. This has allowed for some corrupt officials to take advantage of their positions for personal profit. With undeveloped legal, economic, and political framework, the country has had a lot of trouble finding a stable foothold in the international community.
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