Somalia is the most corrupt country in the world, followed by Afghanistan, Burma and Iraq, an international watchdog said today.
The annual report of Transparency International found that Denmark, New Zealand and Singapore tied for first place as the world’s least corrupt nations.
The group found that some countries especially hard hit by the fallout of the global financial crisis became more corrupt during the last year. Among those were Greece and Italy, but also the United States, which declined to 22nd place, compared with 19th place last year.
Of the 178 countries surveyed, the UK came 20th and Ireland 14th.
Nearly three quarters fell below an index score of five on a scale where zero is the most corrupt and 10 is the least. Transparency International’s corruption index draws on 13 different surveys of businesspeople and governance experts conducted between January 2009 and September 2010.
The Berlin-based watchdog group said the overall results show that greater efforts must go into strengthening governance across the globe.
“Allowing corruption to continue is unacceptable – too many poor and vulnerable people continue to suffer its consequences around the world,” said director Hugutte Labelle.
“We need to see more enforcement of existing rules and laws,” she said. “There should be nowhere to hide for the corrupt or their money.”
There were some bright spots in the new report – Bhutan, Chile, Ecuador, Gambia, Haiti, Jamaica, Qatar, Kuwait and Macedonia were among the countries that improved the most.