Somalia tops list of most corrupt countries

By Ali Muhiyaddiin

MOGADISHU (Caasimada Online) — Apart from poverty, unemployment, rising costs of food & fuel, terrorism and climate change, corruption is also a major global issue. Corruption, which refers to illegal or dishonest behavior mostly by people in powerful positions such as police officers or government officials, is one of the main causes of poverty globally. According to TI (Transparency International), the top anti-corruption international NGO, corruption is the misuse of entrusted or public power for private gain. This article will give an insight into the 20 most corrupt countries in the world this year.

Corruption negatively impacts on organizations, groups, and individuals in many ways. In most cases, corruption costs people their lives, health, money, and freedom. Over the years, the scale of corruption has gradually been increasing as some countries are more corrupt than others. In order to measure the scale of corruption, there are four methods that can be used, namely: official statistics, tracking surveys, experiential surveys & perceptual, and attitudinal surveys. All methods have proven to be good but it is highly advisable to deploy a mixed method approach for better results according to the corruption index of the country.

The 20 most corrupt countries in the world
Since 1995, Transparency International has annually published the Corruption Perception Index commonly known as CPI which ranks countries by their perceived levels of corruption. In most cases, the CPI is determined by both opinion surveys and expert assessments. In order for a country to appear in the CPI, it has to undergo evaluation by not less than three sources.

Currently, the Corruption Perceptions Index ranks 176 countries on a scale from 0 to 100, i.e. highly corrupt countries to least corrupt countries. According to the Transparency International Corruption Index, Denmark and New Zealand are ranked as the least corrupt countries worldwide whereas, Syria, South Sudan, and Somalia are ranked among the top most corrupt countries in the world. The lowest ranked countries are mostly plagued by poor governance, conflicts, and war, lack of independence of the media industry as well as weak public institutions like the judiciary and police.

Below is a list of the most corrupt countries in the world.

1. Somalia

Somalia is the most corrupt country in the world. Somalia has a central government in place, but in reality, it is run by rival clans and warlords. Somalia is also the most unstable country in the world. The lifestyle in Somalia is quite tough as a majority of the people make a living from farming, fishing or raising livestock. Approximately only 29% of the population have the privilege to attend school and the average life expectancy is only 55 years old.

Somalia remains perilous on the economic front as it is well known for piracy. It is also difficult for any long-term planning for infrastructure and social programs to take place in Somalia if there is a mess at the top of the power structure. Insecurity and instability are major issues in the country which greatly restrict business. In fact, corrupt government officials tolerate illegal activities in exchange for bribes.

For a long time now, Somalia has had numerous irregularities in its election processes with cases of vote buying which compounds the corruption problem in the country since the members of parliament can only vote and elect a president. The inner workings of the economic system and the government of Somalia are scarce which implies that the corrupt officials do not want outsiders to see the actual picture of what goes beyond the borders of the country.

2. North Korea

North Korea is a communist country that is led by Kim Jong-un who uses graft allegations as a powerful tool against his enemies. Just like Somalia, the inner workings of the North Korean economy and government are quite mysterious as the flow of information is very restricted. Strict rules and punishment have been imposed by Kim Jong-un’s regime as only a few thousand citizens can afford to gain access to the heavily restricted internet in North Korea.

A majority of the country’s issues include poverty and starvation which can be traced back to the collapse of the Soviet Union as the land and equipment have been worn out over the years. The elite live lavish lifestyles without any accountability and the military spending outweighs spending on social aid and programs. Corruption in North Korea continues to be a growing problem despite the fact that it receives aid from other countries such as China.

3. South Sudan

South Sudan is one of the most corrupt countries in Africa. In 2011, South Sudan officially declared independence, however, since late 2013 the country has had long-outstanding conflicts with Sudan, its parent company. South Sudan does not have proper government structures in place. For example, both the oppositions and government in the country use child soldiers during the war.

Also, the leaders of both sides who are responsible for mass rapes and killings of innocent citizens in the country stay in luxurious hotels, drive fancy cars and have acquired enormous wealth illegally. As a result, the government has no oversight for a majority of the country’s budgetary dealings which gives an opportunity for corrupt politicians to funnel funds of the public into their pockets.

4. Syria

Syria is one of the most corrupt countries in the Middle East region. Currently, there is no other country that is in worse shape than Syria. The country has been in a state of civil war since the Arab spring with no hopes of the civil war ending in the near future. As a result, Syria has the worst cases of refugee crisis with mass migrations to Europe and the United States. The President of Syria, Bashar al-Assad continues to hold on to power as the level of corruption exponentially grows.

5. Yemen

Just like many other countries in the Middle East, Yemen is also currently undergoing a civil war. Yemen is the poorest country in the Middle East with cases of high birth rates and child malnutrition as well as dwindling water and oil reserves. Corruption in Yemen is quite rampant. For example, anyone in Yemen who is not entitled to obtain a passport can easily get one in exchange for a bribe. As a result, the Yemenis with legitimate passports are unable to get jobs in other Gulf countries and abroad which weakens the Yemeni economy. The Yemeni government has anti-corruption laws in place but practices such as extortion and bribery are excluded.

6. Sudan

Sudan is also considered to be one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Since 1956 when Sudan gained independence, it has been in conflict which has resulted in more than 2 million deaths and destabilized the country. After South Sudan split off from Sudan which took its oil riches, the situation in the country took a turn for the worse. Public servants openly demand extra payments for facilitation of services that individuals and businesses are legally entitled to anyway.

7. Libya

Libya has faced corruption for more than two decades now. All the sectors in the economy of this country suffer from corruption but the oil and procurement sector is the most affected. Bribery is a common practice in Libya and most companies suffer from unfair competition from businesses owned by the government which dominates the market locally.

8. Afghanistan

Afghanistan is also among the list of corrupt countries in the world. Corruption in this country is a growing and widespread problem. The country is loosely held by a central government that lacks power and run by warlords and a majority of the local tribal leaders. In Afghanistan, Bribes are paid in order to secure most of the public services. The country is also well-known for the production of heroin which has made a lucky few wealthy.

9. Guinea-Bissau

Guinea-Bissau is located in West Africa between Senegal and Guinea. A majority of the people living in this country are poor and drug trafficking is widely recognized as a threat to the country’s political stability. Over the years, Guinea-Bissau has become a major transit point and hub for drug trafficking from Europe to Latin America. The country has ineffective law enforcement facilities in place which hinders investigations to prosecute traffickers or seize drugs.

10. Venezuela

Since oil was discovered in Venezuela in the early 20th century, the level of political corruption has worsened over time. According to the corruption index, Venezuela is ranked in the 166th place out of 176 countries. The currency of the country is very worthless and the economy remains quite unstable. Also, majority of the corruption in Venezuela is mainly in the police force department. Citizens are afraid to report crimes to the police because most of the officers work with criminals and are likely to bring more harm than good to the citizens.

11. Iraq

Iraq’s current state of affairs is highly risky and corrupt. Public officials engage in corruption by accepting gifts and bribes just to get their job done. Conflicts are mostly between the Shiites, the Sunnis, and the Kurds. However, the arrival of the ISIS from Syria has also contributed to the ongoing conflicts. The Iraqi government has failed to successfully implement anti-corruption laws.

12. Eritrea

According to the corruption ranking, corruption in Eritrea keeps getting worse as it from No. 25 to No 10 from between 2013 and 2014 respectively. A few years ago, approximately 699.6 million US dollars were traced in a Swiss bank with unknown Eritrean account holders. According to some foreign diplomats and Eritrean opposition leaders, the account belongs to a number of Eritrean government officials who are involved in illegal trafficking of arms and people.

13. Angola

On numerous occasions, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, the president of Angola, has been accused of being responsible for creating one of the most corrupt countries in Africa. The country is rich with oil reserves and The Angolan president has leveraged oil to accumulate wealth for his own personal gain whereas the rest of the population lacks access to basic commodities and services.

14. Republic of the Congo

The Republic of Congo is well-known for its high levels of corruption. In fact, almost all the sectors of the economy suffers from rampant corruption. The government has an anti-corruption regulatory framework in place but, the implementation process is very poor and government officials engage in corruption even though bribes and facilitation payments are illegal.

15. Haiti

Majority of the corruption in the country is mainly from collusion among the politicians and the elite. Last month, some tech-savvy Haitians used the Whatsapp and Twitter social media platforms to denounce corruption and demanded accountability for the government squandering billions of dollars in proceeds from the discounted PetroCaribe oil program courtesy of Venezuela.


Chad is one of the poorest countries worldwide and a majority of the citizens do not work in the formal economy. With many in the informal sector, corruption cases are rampant since bribing and other corrupt activities are not fully monitored by the law. The anti-corruption legislation enforcement in the country is poor as the prosecutions mostly target the political opponents of the government, meaning that no course of action is taken on corrupt activities by friends of the government. Corruption is a high risk for people or businesses looking to invest in the country, and this affects the economic growth of Chad.

17. C.A.R

Just like Chad, corruption is also a high risk for companies that operate or want to invest CAR. The ongoing insecurity in the country has contributed to the high levels of corruption. Investors are quite aware that impunity, extortion, and bribery are pervasive in the Central African Republic.

18. Burundi

Burundi currently has an ongoing political turmoil that arose in April 2015 from the decision of the ruling party to enable the President to seek office for the third time. According to Burundians, most of the police officers accept bribes to arrest innocent people and free up convicts who were found to be guilty of committing offenses.

19. Uzbekistan

Corruption in Uzbekistan is also a major problem. There are laws in place to curb corruption, however, the enforcement of the laws is very weak. The country also has low prosecution rates of corrupt government officials which greatly contributes to corruption.

20. The Democratic Republic of the Congo
Corruption in the Democratic Republic of Congo costs the country approximately 15 billion dollars per year. In 2017, DRC lost 750 million dollars in mining revenues to corruption.

Corruption is a cancer: a cancer that eats away at a citizen’s faith in democracy, diminishes the instinct for innovation and creativity; already-tight national budgets, crowding out important national investments. It wastes the talent of entire generations. It scares away investments and jobs.

As per Joe Biden’s words quoted above, corruption is a major global problem and this is evident from the above list of the 20 most corrupt countries in the world. Many countries are facing corruption and it can only be stopped if the people in power are educated and are willing to change the role they play towards corruption.