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Corruption Perceptions Index - Part II - The Bad

Bribery, Corruption
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CPI - Part I - The Good CPI - Part III - The Ugly

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly


State capture

State capture is a type of systemic political corruption in which the state is captured by a particular interest group, whereby private interests significantly influence the state's decision-making processes to the advantage of the lobbyist group.

Corruption Perceptions Index 2020 - Part II (The Bad)

Defining corruption is challenging. Corruption takes many forms, and perpetrators are adept at finding new ways to be corrupt and cover their tracks.

Corruption manifests itself in the form of bribery, lobbying, extortion, nepotism, influence peddling, graft and embezzlement, and sexual exploitation, to name a few.

Like previous years, more than two-thirds of countries score below 50 on this year's CPI, with an average score of just 43. The data shows that despite some progress, most countries still fail to tackle corruption effectively.

Below is the list of countries that scored less than 50 points in the Corruption Perceptions Index of Transparency International.

The list includes countries where some progress has been made in passing anti-corruption laws, but where corruption is still prevalent due to weak enforcement of the laws.
No Flag Score Country Rank
49 Armenia 60
Note: Armenia is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region between Asia and Europe.

Corruption remains a major problem in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, threatening economic development and political stability as well as the credibility of governments.
While some progress has been made in adopting anti-corruption laws in all five countries, the capture of important institutions by powerful interests seriously undermines the effective enforcement of these laws. In order to address the problem, Transparency International national chapters conducted in-depth research on the strengths and weaknesses of more than 60 institutions responsible for preventing and fighting corruption across the five countries. [TI]

Armenia is in the midst of a significant transition following mass anti-government protests and elections in 2018 that ousted an entrenched political elite. The new government has promised to address long-standing problems such as systemic corruption, opaque politics, a flawed electoral system, and weak rule of law. [FH]
49 Jordan 60
Note: Jordan is an Arab country in the Middle East, east of the Jordan River.

Jordanian anti-graft activists have long alleged that many public officials are involved in widespread corruption. According to one Jordanian official, many of Jordan's mega public works projects – such as roads and bridges with price tags that often reach in the tens of millions of dollars – are often awarded to companies owned by families of members of parliament or other deeply connected figures within the ruling elite. [Al Jazeera]

Dubbed "the cigarettes scandal," a case of illegal production and smuggling of fake-brand cigarettes like Winston, worth of millions of dollars, was revealed in Jordan in July 2018 with rumored political ties. It has put the question of corruption back on the public agenda and upset the population. [Fanack]
49 Slovakia 60
Note: Slovakia is a country in central Europe and formerly one of the two constituent republics of Czechoslovakia.

According to the Risk & Compliance Portal, corruption is a high risk for businesses in Slovakia, most notably in the judiciary and public procurement sectors. Companies cite the lack of transparency and inefficient government bureaucracy as the largest impediments to business.
47 Belarus 63
Note: Belarus is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe between Russia and Poland. Belarus is often called the "last European dictatorship."

With a score of 47, Belarus is a significant improver on the CPI, jumping 16 points since 2012. However, in 2020, weekly citizen protests began against the contested presidential election results, with national and international onlookers sounding alarms about police violence and ill-treatment of citizens.
Grand corruption remains a problem in Belarus, where it is concentrated within the highest levels of government. For years, the president's office has exercised authoritative power with little to no legislative or judicial checks and balances, while the economy has mostly been controlled by the state. In 2019, the Council of Europe's anti-corruption body, known as the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO), publicly declared Belarus as "non-compliant" for failing to address the vast majority of necessary anti-corruption reforms and recommendations. [1]
47 Croatia 63
Note: Croatia is a country on the coast of the Adriatic Sea in southeastern Europe; it was a constituent republic of Yugoslavia until independence.

The former constituent republic of Yugoslavia is a popular tourist destination in the Balkans. According to BIRN, the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, "Perceptions of corruption in Croatia have slumped to their worst level in five years. Experts say politicians no longer face the outside pressure they once did when the country was trying to join the European Union." [BIRN]
47 Cuba 63
Note: Cuba is a country located on the largest island of the West Indies archipelago. The policy of Cuba was determined for decades by Fidel Castro and later by his brother Raúl Castro.

Highest-ranked communist country. Cuba has suffered from widespread corruption since the establishment of the Republic of Cuba in 1902. The book Corruption in Cuba (isbn:9780292714823) states that public ownership resulted in "a lack of identifiable ownership and widespread misuse and theft of state resources..." [Wikipedia]

Despite an anti-corruption drive and the fact that Cuba performs better than the average country in Latin America and the Caribbean, evidence suggests that corruption is still a major issue. [TI]
47 Sao Tome and Principe 63
Note: São Tomé and Príncipe is a tropical African island nation located about 290 km (180 mi) west off the coast of Gabon on the African mainland.

The second smallest economy in Africa covers two islands and several islets in the Gulf of Guinea.
São Tomé and Príncipe holds regular, competitive national elections and has undergone multiple transfers of power between rival parties. Civil liberties are generally respected, but poverty and corruption have weakened some institutions and contributed to dysfunction in the justice system. Threats to judicial independence have been a growing concern in recent years. [FH]
45 Montenegro 67
Note: Montenegro is a landlocked mountainous country in the Balkans, formerly part of Yugoslavia.

Citizens have low confidence in the judicial system and perceive the levels of corruption and nepotism to be high, and companies face high corruption risks when dealing with Montenegro's judiciary. [R&C]
45 Senegal 67
Note: Senegal is a West African country south of Mauritania with a coastline on the Atlantic Ocean.

The country's status was downgraded by Freedom House from free to partly free because the 2019 presidential election was marred by the expulsion of two key opposition figures convicted in politically explosive corruption cases and eventually pardoned by the incumbent president. Other ongoing challenges include corruption in government, a weak rule of law, and inadequate protections for the rights of women and LGBT people. [FH]
44 Bulgaria 69
Note: The Balkan country on the western shore of the Black Sea continues to struggle with political corruption and organized crime. The media sector is less pluralistic, as ownership concentration has considerably increased in the last ten years. [FH]
Bulgaria was replaced by Hungary as the most corrupt country in the European Union.
44 Hungary 69
Note: Hungary is a landlocked country in Central Europe and since 2004 a member state of the European Union. Hungary was formerly a member country of the Warsaw Pact.

The most corrupt country in the European Union and a significant decliner on the CPI dropped eleven points since 2012.
A weakening of independent institutions, growing political influence on the media and an increasingly hostile environment for civil society, along with corruption scandals involving EU funds, had become the country's new normal even before the pandemic.
As the crisis emerged, the ruling party's two-third majority adopted legal changes further centralizing its power and weakening its control of public spending.

Hungary (and Poland) caused serious challenges by threatening to block the adoption of the EU budget and COVID-19 recovery fund. This was an attempt to prevent the final adoption of a political agreement on conditionalities to protect the EU budget from breaches of the principles of the rule of law. [TI] [BBC]
44 Jamaica 69
Note: Jamaica is a Caribbean island nation south of Cuba.

Despite Jamaica's slight movement in its CPI score, it remains the fifth most corrupt nation in the Caribbean, ahead of Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, the Dominican Republic and Haiti. [Jamaica Gleaner]

Further comprehensive information about corruption in Jamaica by the USAID/Jamaica.

44 Romania 69
Note: Romania is a country in southeastern Europe, bordering the Black Sea to the east; it has been a member of the European Union (EU) since 2007.

In the dark field of corruption, Romania is one of the worst-rated European countries.
A request from anti-corruption prosecutors to allow a criminal investigation against former prime minister and senate speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu for suspected bribe-taking was approved by Romania's President Klaus Iohannis. Prosecutors have said Tariceanu received political consultancy services worth $800,000 during 2007-2008 paid by an Austrian company in exchange for government bills in its favor. [REUTERS]
44 South Africa 69
Note: South Africa is a multi-ethnic country occupying the southern part of the African continent.

From the VOC to the ANC, South Africa has always been dominated by the powerful, and so the legend can persist that corruption is a tradition of the country.

No, corruption is a tradition of the powerful in every country and the people who facilitate their machinations. If you have read this page carefully, you will have noticed that corruption always extends from the top down. From people with power, influence and money who can't get enough. From governments that pay their civil servants, police, teachers and the military miserably and thus open the door to corruption at the lower levels of society.

44 Tunisia 69
Note: Tunisia is a country on the Mediterranean coast of Northwest Africa. The Arab Spring began with protests in Tunisia.

After ousting a longtime autocrat from power in 2011, Tunisia began a democratic transition, and citizens now enjoy unprecedented political rights and civil liberties. However, the influence of endemic corruption, economic challenges, security threats, and continued unresolved issues related to gender equality and transitional justice remain obstacles to full democratic consolidation. [FH]

With a score of 43, Tunisia remains at a standstill on the CPI despite advances in anti-corruption legislation. Recent laws to protect whistleblowers and improve access to information, combined with stronger social accountability and space for civil society, are important steps, but they are not enough. [TI]
43 Ghana 75
Note: Ghana is a West African country between the Ivory Coast and Togo with a coastline on the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean.

Ghana has had a long-running battle with corruption, with scandals under multiple governments and corruption seen as entrenched throughout society. In the 2020 Transparency International Corruption Perception index, Ghana ranked 43 out of 100, with 100 being the cleanest. [VOA]

In 2019, less than three weeks ahead of Ghana's election, anti-corruption Special Prosecutor Martin Amidu has resigned after submitting a report about the government's plans to sell the rights to most of the country's precious metals royalties to Agyapa Royalties Limited. The Jersey-based special purpose vehicle (SPV) would own almost 76% of the royalties generated from 16 large gold mines in Ghana under a scheme that has caused controversy and political fallout in Ghana. [TI]
43 Maldives 75
Note: The chain of coral islands in the Indian Ocean southwest of India is known as a pricey tourist destination.

Tourism is a major industry in the Maldives, accounting for over 32% of the archipelago's GDP. The revenues from tourism can be increased with ambitious resort tourism development projects, and that is why 132 new tourism projects are being built on both uninhabited and artificial islands, although marine biologists fear that this recent increase in man-made assaults on nature could eventually choke the archipelago's coral reefs. [Devex]

In October 2020, a court in the Maldives had sentenced former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb to 20 years in prison on corruption charges related to the leasing of tropical islands for hotel development. [Al Jazeera]
43 Vanuatu 75
Note: Vanuatu is a group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean with a population of about 300,000 that became independent from France and the United Kingdom in 1980.

With a score of 43, Vanuatu remains stagnant on the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), slipping three points from 2019. Highly vulnerable to the impact of natural disasters, the country was hit hardest by Cyclone Harold at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since its independence in 1980, Vanuatu has been politically volatile, with frequent motions of no confidence filed against the government. In fact, former Prime Minister Charlot Salwai, who was in office from 2016 until April 2020, was the first to complete a full four-year term in more than a decade. His time in office, however, was not free from scandal. In December 2020, he was convicted of perjury and in February 2021, he was sentenced to a suspended prison term after being found guilty. [TI]
42 Argentina 78
Note: The South American country is a vibrant representative democracy with competitive elections, lively media and civil society sectors, and unfettered public debate. Economic instability, corruption in the government and judiciary, and drug-related violence are among the country's most serious challenges. Corruption scandals are common, and several prominent members of the political class, including former presidents, have been charged with or found guilty of malfeasance in recent years. [FH]
42 Bahrain 78
Note: Bahrain is a small Arab kingdom in the Persian Gulf to the east of Saudi Arabia.

Bahrain was once viewed as a promising model for political reform and democratic transition, but it has become one of the Middle East's most repressive states. Since violently crushing a popular pro-democracy protest movement in 2011, the Sunni-led monarchy has systematically eliminated a broad range of political rights and civil liberties, dismantled the political opposition, and cracked down harshly on persistent dissent in the Shiite population.
There are some laws in place to combat corruption, but enforcement is weak, and high-ranking officials or members of the royal family who are suspected of corruption are rarely punished. [FH]
42 China 78
Note: China's President Xi Jinping launched a sweeping anti-corruption campaign in 2018 with the slogan "Saohei chu'e," which means "sweep away the black and eliminate the evil." After three years, the initiative concluded last year. China's legislature, which is convening this week, will likely hail the campaign as a smashing success: nearly 40,000 supposed criminal cells and corrupt companies busted, and more than 50,000 Communist Party and government officials punished for abetting them, according to official statistics. Now Beijing is signaling it will continue elements of the campaign.
But in many cases, legal experts say, the latest campaign has served another function: enabling officials across China to lock away entrepreneurs and other citizens whom they perceive to have gained too much wealth or influence independent of the party. [NPR]

42 Kuwait 78
Note: Kuwait is a small oil-rich sheikhdom on the northwestern coast of the Persian Gulf.

As in many Middle Eastern countries, the cornerstone of corruption in the tiny Muslim kingdom ruled by the House of Al-Sabah since 1752 is wasta, the use of connections and influence to gain favors. Wasta comes in different flavors: bribes, nepotism, unwarranted services, waived fees, inflated evaluations, and circumvented laws. According to an International Monetary Fund report, the system is so ubiquitous in the sultanate that Kuwaitis were the most likely to cite it as a requirement for employment, compared with the rest of the population in the Middle East, where it ranked third. [DIVAN]
42 Solomon Islands 78
Note: The Solomon Islands is a small island nation in the South Pacific to the east of New Guinea.

In the Solomon Islands, little progress has been made since the passing of the 2018 anti-corruption law. In 2020, key government actors were accused of diverting funds intended to help people struggling during the pandemic. The Solomon Islands recently announced the intention to ban Facebook under the guise of preventing the spread of misinformation and to the dismay of the public. [TI]
41 Benin 83
Note: Benin is a tropical country west of Nigeria in West Africa, a narrow strip of land bordering the Gulf of Guinea to the south.

According to the Risk & Compliance Portal, there is a very high risk of corruption in Benin's judicial sector. Irregular payments or bribes to obtain favorable decisions are commonly exchanged. In addition, many magistrates have been implicated in various financial scandals in the recent past. Corruption also poses a high risk to companies in the country's civil service, tax administration, customs authorities, public procurement and police. [R&C]
41 Guyana 83
Note: This English-speaking country on the northeast coast of South America, between Venezuela, Suriname and Brazil, has seen improvements in its fight against corruption since 2015 with a new government in place.
Still, the average Guyanese would likely agree that corruption is pervasive and not only negatively impacts individuals, families and communities, but also hinders national development. [TI]
41 Lesotho 83
Note: Lesotho, the landlocked African kingdom that forms an enclave in South Africa, is notorious for silencing or exiling prominent figures and for the interference of the security forces in political affairs. Politicians also meddle in the internal operations of the security agencies.
The country is currently making international news headlines for a slightly different reason; the police have charged former Prime Minister Thomas Thabane and his young and politically ambitious wife with the murder of Thabane's second wife in June 2017. [DIA]
40 Burkina Faso 86
Note: Burkina Faso, a former French colony, is a landlocked tropical country in West Africa, south of Mali.

The "land of honest men" is trying to overcome a legacy of bad governance and corruption. Bribery and bureaucratic corruption are widespread, permeating all sectors of society and affecting the daily lives of the people of Burkina Faso. The extractive industries sector (gold, zinc, copper), the judicial system and the public health sector are particularly vulnerable to corruption. [TI]
40 India 86
Note: The second-most populous country in the world falls to 86th rank in the CPI 2020.
India has the highest rate in Asia of bribery and use of personal connections to gain access to public services such as health care and education. Slow and complicated bureaucratic processes, unnecessary red tape, and unclear legal frameworks force citizens to seek alternative solutions to access basic services through networks of familiarity and petty corruption.
With the highest bribery rate (39%) in the region, India also has the highest rate of people using personal connections to access public services (46%). When asked why they pay bribes or use personal contacts, 50% of those who paid bribes said they were asked to, while 32% of those who used personal connections said they would not receive the service otherwise.[TI]
40 Morocco 86
Note: Morocco is a Berber kingdom in the northwestern part of North Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.

Morocco is failing to make progress against systemic corruption in its public sector. The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated the extreme fragility of the country's economy and highlighted governance challenges. [TI]
40 Timor-Leste 86
Note: East Timor, officially Timor-Leste, is a country on the eastern part of the island of Timor in the Malay Archipelago. Only in May 2002, East Timor achieved international recognition as an independent state.

Transparency International ranked Timor-Leste at 86 out of 180 countries on its Corruption Perceptions Index in 2020, and the Government of Timor-Leste is continuing to take steps to combat corruption.
Historically, some Timorese have sought to identify corruption as "a foreign import or legacy of occupation" from its former colonizers, Indonesia and Portugal. It is true that corruption, both institutional and informal, involving civil and military personnel was rampant at all levels of society during the Indonesian occupation. But corruption didn't stop with the occupation.
After the restoration of independence, many resistance leaders became leaders of public sector institutions, not because of their educational qualifications, professional experience, and knowledge of how to run a democratic institution properly, but because of their past credentials during the resistance era. [The Diplomat]
40 Trinidad and Tobago 86
Note: The two islands country off the northeastern coast of Venezuela has a CPI score of 40 and ranks 86 out of 180.

Apart from corruption in the police forces, Trinidad and Tobago has experienced a number of corruption cases involving high-ranking politicians. Most recently, Marlene McDonald, an MP, was arrested on corruption and money laundering charges. Earlier in 2019, a former attorney general and a senator were charged with breaching the Prevention of Corruption Act over fraud with legal fees. In addition, organized crime and a high murder rate are among the country's major challenges. [TI]
40 Turkey 86
Note: Turkey, one of the six Turkic states, is a country that occupies the Anatolian peninsula in western Asia and a small region in southeastern Europe.

Despite aspirations to join the European Union, the score of Turkey has not improved. Turkey declined significantly by 11 points since 2012.
In 2019, the OECD warned Turkey over its continued failure to implement key aspects of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention and enforce its foreign bribery laws. As a result, the Working Group on Bribery would send a high-level mission to Ankara in 2020 if Turkey did not take concrete action by October 2019.
39 Colombia 92
Note: The South American country is best known for its drug cartels and as one of the prime cocaine suppliers to the United States.

The man who took office promising to fight corruption is now himself the target of corruption allegations. In February 2020, the lower house of the Colombian Congress opened a preliminary investigation into Colombian President Iván Duque after former congresswoman Aída Merlano accused him of corruption, electoral fraud, and vote trafficking. But Colombia's prosecutors are trying to cover up the election rigging. [Colombia Reports]

In 2021, thousands of people took to the streets in dozens of cities across Colombia to protest a range of issues, including economic inequality, police violence, unemployment and poor public services. The peaceful protests were met by police with excessive, often brutal force, including live ammunition. Human Rights Watch has documented multiple killings by police, as well as beatings, sexual abuse, and arbitrary detention of demonstrators and bystanders. [HRW]
39 Ecuador 92
Note: In the South American country, corruption is a serious problem. Ecuadorian law provides criminal penalties for corruption by public officials, but the government does not implement the law effectively, and officials may engage in corrupt practices with impunity. [ITA]

38 Brazil 94
Note: South America's largest country scores quite poorly in the corruption index, thanks in part to its president.

Jair Bolsonaro, president of Brazil, has been named Person of the Year by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) in 2020 for his role in promoting organized crime and corruption. Bolsonaro was elected as an anti-corruption candidate in the wake of the Operação Lava Jato (Operation Car Wash) criminal investigation, but instead he has surrounded himself with corrupt figures, used propaganda to promote his populist agenda, undermined the judicial system, and waged a destructive war against the Amazon that has enriched some of the country's worst landowners. [OCCRP]
38 Ethiopia 94
Note: Ethiopia is a mountainous, landlocked country in the Horn of Africa. It is the second most populous country on the continent.
There are high levels of corruption in Ethiopia, although less high than in comparable regional countries. Examples of corruption include facilitation payments and bribes being necessary to keep land leased from the state or in order to obtain government contracts.
In principle, the legislative framework to prevent and sanction corruption in Ethiopia is strong. However, the government does not implement these laws effectively, and the judiciary is known to be politically influenced. [R&C]
38 Kazakhstan 94
Note: The Central Asian country has jumped up 19 positions and now ranks 94th out of 180 countries.

However, the level of corruption remains sufficiently high, especially in the spending of public funds. Hundreds of millions of dollars of suspicious origin have transited in and out of Kazakhstan with the help of U.S. banks, an investigation of thousands of leaked documents revealed.
[The Diplomat]
38 Peru 94
Note: Peru is a mountainous country in South America, crossed along its entire length by the Andes Mountains; to the west it borders the Pacific Ocean.

The third largest country in South America faces structural corruption, impunity and political instability. In less than five years, the country has rejected four presidents, three of whom are under investigation for corruption. [TI]

The country's judicial independence ranks at the bottom on the Index of Public Integrity.

In May 2021, Peru's government admitted that more than 180,000 people had died from COVID-19 - nearly triple the previous official number. [REUTERS]
38 Serbia 94
Note: Serbia is a landlocked country in the Balkans and one of the former republics of Yugoslavia.

Serbia earns its lowest score on the CPI since 2012. The country's biggest corruption challenges include serious rule-of-law issues, continued democratic erosion and efforts to silence critical voices. In response to COVID-19, Serbia took several controversial steps, including suspending Parliament, implementing extensive curfews and inciting violence against protesters. In addition, the police arrested and detained an investigative journalist. At the same time, the government restricted access to information on the procurement of medical equipment and retaliated against health care workers who criticized its response to the public health crisis. [TI]
38 Sri Lanka 94
Note: Sri Lanka is an island nation southeast of India, formerly known as Ceylon.

The country's efforts to fight corruption, including arrests and indictments, led to few convictions. Corruption remains a problem in the judiciary, public procurement, and customs.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa, now Sri Lanka's incumbent president, was indicted in an anti-corruption court in 2018 for allegedly misusing public funds to build a memorial to his parents; the charges against him were dropped after he became president in November 2019. Within a week after the election, leading personnel in the Criminal Investigation Department responsible for cases against the Rajapaksa family were demoted, transferred, and banned from traveling abroad. A key investigator fled to Switzerland, and an employee of the Swiss embassy was then abducted by unidentified men and forced to hand over information about individuals seeking asylum in that country. [FH]
38 Suriname 94
Note: The Dutch-speaking country on the northeastern coast of South America is a constitutional democracy that holds generally free and fair elections. However, corruption is a pervasive problem in government, and attacks on judicial independence and due process, underscored by the president's interference in his own murder trial, remain a concern. Women, indigenous peoples, and the Maroon population are politically underrepresented. [FH] [Global Americans]
38 Tanzania 94
Note: Tanzania is a country in East Africa bordering the Indian Ocean. It is home to Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest mountain.

Corruption is ubiquitous in Tanzanian society and a serious problem in all sectors of the economy. The most affected sectors are government procurement, land administration, taxation, and customs. The Tanzanian judicial system is tainted by corruption and is subject to executive influence. [R&C]
37 Gambia 102
Note: Gambia, often stylized as The Gambia, a narrow strip of land on both sides of the Gambia River, geographically surrounded by Senegal on three sides.

Yahya Jammeh, a Gambian politician and former military officer, was President of the Gambia from 1996 to 2017. During his 22-year rule, Jammeh allegedly looted the state pension fund for his own benefit, used the central bank as his private checking account, collaborated with terrorist financiers to launder millions and undervalue state assets, and stole millions in foreign aid. Banking data leaks appear to show that the value of state assets stolen by Jammeh and his cronies was far higher than previously estimated – at almost US$1billion, equivalent to one year of GDP and twice of Gambia's external debt. [TI] [OCCRP]
37 Indonesia 102
Note: The island nation in the Malay Archipelago between the Indian and Pacific Oceans is known as a dream destination for tourists, an environmental polluter due to slash-and-burn agriculture, and for its culture of corruption.

The country with the largest Muslim population suffers from widespread corruption and new legislation that weakened Indonesia's anti-corruption agency.
Authorities and influential Muslim organizations have continued to intimidate and harass LGBT+ people and activists. The efficiency of business operations is restricted by a corrupt judiciary, complicating the process of dispute settlement and weakening property rights protections. The government is accused of appropriating land for private development projects against the will of the owners without receiving adequate compensation. The latest example is Mandalika; the new tourist area on Lombok, touted as the next Bali, will be another luxury hotel enclave with an adjacent Formula One race track.
Corruption is also rampant in the natural resources sector owing to weak oversight. Central and local government officials have reportedly accepted kickbacks from mining and palm oil companies in exchange for access to lands. [FH] [R&C]
36 Albania 104
Note: Albania is a country in the Western Balkans to the north of Greece, bordering the Adriatic Sea.

Albania is among the worst-ranked countries in Europe in the CPI, even though Albania improved its score from 35 to 36. The EU candidate is accused of a significant increase in state capture, a type of systemic political corruption. [IDM Albania]

The country has a legal anti-corruption framework in place, yet frequent amendments subject to conflicting interpretations have undermined the legal certainty of the laws. Furthermore, the government does not implement these laws effectively. Corruption in Albania's judicial system is widespread and a very high risk for businesses. Bribes are often exchanged for favorable judicial decisions, and judges and prosecutors lack accountability. [R&C]
36 Algeria 104
Note: Algeria is the largest country in Africa, four-fifths of its territory is covered by the Sahara desert.

Political affairs in Algeria have been dominated by a closed elite based in the military and the ruling party, the National Liberation Front (FLN). While there are multiple opposition parties in the parliament, elections are distorted by fraud, and electoral processes are not transparent. Other concerns include the suppression of street protests, legal restrictions on media freedom, and rampant corruption. The rise of the Hirak protest movement in 2019 has put pressure on the regime, with President Abdelaziz Bouteflika resigning and the armed forces moving to maintain their grip on power in response. [FH]
36 Cote d'Ivoire 104
Note: Côte d'Ivoire (or Ivory Coast) is a West African country that was hailed as a post-colonial model of stability until an armed rebellion in 2002 split the nation in two.

The country is the world's largest exporter of cocoa beans, and its citizens enjoy relatively high-income levels compared to other countries in the region. But the country's cocoa industry is also accused of exploiting children. Despite years of promises by the chocolate industry, child labor remains widespread on cocoa farms. [WP]
36 El Salvador 104
Note: The country in Central America borders the Pacific Ocean in the south. El Salvador is known as the "land of volcanoes."

With a score of 36, the country has stagnated on the CPI for the past eight years, but recently, the country suffered a serious setback when an important law to provide access to information was suspended due to the pandemic. Only by using this same law could civil society groups monitor government funds for COVID-19-related purchases to ensure the money was well-spent. Unfortunately, the national state of emergency allowed for less transparent and riskier contracting processes, resulting in some startling irregularities. [TI]
36 Kosovo 104
Note: Kosovo is a partially recognized small state in southeastern Europe claimed by Serbia.

Kosovo holds credible and relatively well-administered elections, but its institutions remain weak, and rampant corruption has given rise to deep public distrust in the government. Journalists face serious pressure and risk being attacked in connection with their reporting. The rule of law is inhibited by executive interference in the judiciary. [FH]
36 Thailand 104
Note: The kingdom in Southeast Asia lies between Myanmar and Laos in the center of the Indochinese peninsula and borders the Gulf of Thailand to the south.

There are high risks of corruption in most sectors in the Land of Smiles. Even though Thailand has the legal framework and a range of institutions to counter corruption, companies may regularly encounter bribery or other corrupt practices. Ousted Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has been put on trial for losses to the state allegedly amounting to at least USD 8 billion stemming from a rice subsidy scheme. The military junta that overthrew the government in 2014 has further entrenched its power, and corruption is said to have worsened under the military regime. [R&C] [OECD]
36 Vietnam 104
Note: The Southeast Asian country to the east of Laos and Cambodia has a long coastline on the South China Sea. It is one of the few remaining communist countries. As we know from other nations, corruption does not stop at the borders of states with communist ideology.

In spite of improvements over the past years, corruption is still considered widespread throughout the country. Vietnam still lags behind other Asian countries in terms of control of corruption and most governance indicators. Corruption affects different sectors such as health, education, construction, land management as well as natural resources and the extractive industries. [TI]
35 Bosnia and Herzegovina 111
Note: Bosnia and Herzegovina, abbreviated BiH, is an almost landlocked country in Southeast Europe in the Balkans. It was formerly part of Yugoslavia.

With a score of 35, Bosnia and Herzegovina is a significant decliner in the region, dropping seven points since 2012. During the pandemic, the country experienced numerous violations of human and labour rights, as well as discrimination in economic aid distribution and alleged unlawful procurement of medical equipment. [TI]

Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) is among the top-ranked countries with the biggest brain drain in the world. [WEF]
35 Mongolia 111
Note: The Asian country with the size of Alaska is wedged between China to the south and Russia to the north.

In April 2019, the Mongolian parliament stunned pro-democracy advocates when it voted to remove the safeguards protecting the independence of its courts and its anti-corruption agency. In doing so, the parliament helped further President Khaltmaa Battulga's ongoing attempt to consolidate power. The action follows months of scandal and protests, which facilitated the support Battulga needed for this week's vote. Until that time many observers have considered Mongolia an unlikely "oasis of democracy" since it left the Soviet Union's orbit in 1990. Now it's the latest nascent democracy to begin sliding toward authoritarian rule. [WP]
35 North Macedonia 111
Note: Lowest rated Balkan country.

In the landlocked republic in the Balkans with a population of 2 million, corruption is part of everyday life and influences politics and the economy. According to the research of the Risk & Compliance Portal, there is a high risk of corruption in most of the country's sectors. Private businesses frequently complain about burdensome administrative processes that create operational delays and opportunities for corruption. Public procurement, the customs administration, and the building and construction sectors are some of the areas where corruption and bribery are most prevalent. [R&C]
35 Panama 111
Note: Panama is a Central American country located on the land bridge connecting North and South America; it borders Colombia and Costa Rica. The country is best known for the Panama Canal and, more recently, the Panama Papers.

Corruption has persisted in Panama for decades. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Panama loses $520 million a year—approximately 1 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP)—to corruption. Investigations surrounding the Odebrecht Case, the largest corruption case in Latin America and the Caribbean, concluded in Panama on October 14, 2020: The Brazilian construction company was found guilty of paying more than $100 million in bribes to officials in the governments of former Panamanian presidents Martín Torrijos (2004-2009), Ricardo Martinelli (2009-2014) and Juan Carlos Varela (2014-2019). But only ten out of the one hundred individuals charged have been convicted of crimes. The fate of the rest of the suspects lies at the hands of Panama's judicial system, which is often criticized for being neither independent nor depoliticized. [AC]
34 Moldova 115
Note: Second-lowest rated European country. The Eastern European country is situated between Romania and Ukraine.

The country's economic growth has been hampered by endemic corruption, which limits business growth and discourages foreign investment, and by Russian restrictions on the import of agricultural products from Moldova. Over the longer term, Moldova's economy remains vulnerable to corruption, political uncertainty, weak administrative capacity, vested bureaucratic interests, energy import dependence, Russian political and economic pressure, heavy dependence on agricultural exports, and unresolved separatism in Moldova's Transnistria region. [CIA]
34 Philippines 115
Note: The Philippines is an island nation south of Taiwan that consists of an archipelago of more than 7,000 islands in maritime Southeast Asia.

With a score of 34, efforts to control corruption in the Philippines appear mostly stagnant since 2012. The government's response to COVID-19 has been characterized by abusive enforcement and major violations of human rights and media freedom. [TI]

The rule of law and the application of the judiciary are arbitrary and strongly favor the political and economic elites. Long-term violent insurgencies have persisted for decades, although their threat to the state has diminished in recent years. Impunity remains the norm for violent crimes against activists and journalists, and President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs since 2016 has led to thousands of extrajudicial killings. [FH]
33 Egypt 117
Note: The Arabian desert country in northeastern Africa features the Nile, pyramids and a coastline on the Mediterranean Sea.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who first took power in a 2013 coup, has governed Egypt in an increasingly authoritarian manner. Meaningful political opposition is virtually nonexistent, as expressions of dissent can draw criminal prosecution and imprisonment. Civil liberties, including press freedom and freedom of assembly, are tightly restricted. Security forces engage in human rights abuses with impunity, and physical security is further undermined by terrorist violence centered in the Sinai Peninsula. In September 2019, small protests broke out in several cities to express opposition to the regime's corruption and economic mismanagement. In response, the authorities detained thousands of people and censored online speech. Corruption is pervasive at all levels of government. Official mechanisms for investigating and punishing corrupt activity remain weak and ineffective. [FH]
33 Eswatini 117
Note: The small landlocked African kingdom between South Africa and Mozambique was known as Swaziland until it changed its name to eSwatini in 2018.

The kingdom's law provides criminal penalties for corruption by officials, but the government did not implement the law effectively. Officials sometimes engaged in corrupt practices with impunity. Corruption continued to be a problem, most often involving personal relationships and bribes being used to secure government contracts on large capital projects. In 2019 the royal family accepted a gift of 13 luxury vehicles from a company that receives millions of dollars in government contracts. [US DoS]
33 Nepal 117
Note: The mountainous landlocked country between India and China in the Himalayas is known for its mountain peaks, its temples and as the birthplace of Buddha.

Yet, corruption is pervasive in the world's only Hindu-Kingdom, where according to a Transparency International survey, most citizens (58%) think corruption increased in the past 12 months. Specifically, corruption is an issue in government procurement, mainly involving politicians and bureaucrats, as well as public service delivery, with citizens facing problems even in critical sectors like health and education. [TI]
33 Sierra Leone 117
Note: The tropical country on the west coast of Africa has slowly moved up the CPI in recent years, where it ranks 117th out of 180 countries after three years of Julius Maada Bio's presidency.
Shortly after his election, Bio's government released an investigative report accusing former President Ernest Bai Koroma and his previous government of widespread financial corruption. But in March 2021, Sierra Leone's new government also came under fire for allegations of irregular spending by the president and his wife, Fatima Jabbe Bio. [rfi] [Africanist]
33 Ukraine 117
Note: Ukraine is a country in eastern Europe, north of the Black Sea. It is the largest country located entirely within Europe.

Worst rated European country, not counting Russia. A tangled network of corruption that traces its roots back to the failed Soviet Union makes it difficult for Ukraine's newly elected president Volodymyr Zelensky to prevail against oligarchs and corrupt judges.
A Russian troop buildup at its borders is boosting anxiety about Ukraine's sovereignty, but the central threat to Kiev's reform ambitions – the corrosive effect of grand corruption – comes from within. And more than seven years into Ukraine's democracy rebuilding project, few would say Ukraine's fight against graft is going smoothly.

Meanwhile, corrupt actors continue to exploit the country's weak judicial system to advance their own interests, in part by attacking the fledgling anti-corruption infrastructure that has earned Kiev international praise. Nevertheless, advocates still see hope for Ukraine's anti-corruption efforts and argue for patience in assessing progress. Despite massive pushback against institutions such as the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) and the High Anti-Corruption Court (HACC), experts say a string of measured successes have established an important foundation for the future. [Eurasianet]
33 Zambia 117
Note: Zambia is a large, resource-rich, landlocked tropical country in the south-central part of Africa.

Corruption is endemic in Zambia and affects people's access to essential public services. According to our 2019 report, nearly one in five Zambian citizens paid bribes to receive benefits like health care or education. The mounting levels of corruption may be attributable to weaknesses in the national public procurement system, operating against a backdrop of rising foreign debt and high levels of poverty. [TI]
32 Niger 123
Note: The landlocked country in West Africa is an African Muslim state on the southern edge of the Sahara.

The credibility of former President Mahamadou Issoufou's promise to fight corruption has been called into question by several developments, including the purchase of a luxury government jet and ongoing corruption allegations against high-ranking government ministers. Issoufou lost his reelection in April 2021 to Mohamed Bazoum, Niger's new president. [TI]

More than $100 million in public funds in Niger, one of the world's poorest countries and a major regional recipient of Western aid, have been squandered in a series of potentially corrupt international arms deals, a leaked official document claims. A confidential government audit of defense spending found that at least $137 million was lost due to misconduct over an eight-year period ending in 2019. [The Guardian]
31 Bolivia 124
Note: The landlocked country in western South America has a long history of political instability.

In November 2019, Jeanine Áñez became interim president of Bolivia after Evo Morales resigned amid electoral fraud allegations and after the armed forces asked him to step down. The Morales administration had created a hostile environment for human rights defenders and promoted judicial changes that posed a serious threat to the rule of law. [HRW]

President Áñez has tried to shield military personnel from accountability for abuses and assumed powers that threaten free expression. Her interim presidency was characterized by many human rights violations such as "state-sponsored violence, restrictions on free speech, and arbitrary detentions. In March 2021, the Bolivian Attorney General's Office issued an arrest warrant for Jeanine Áñez and five members of her government for terrorism, sedition, and conspiracy. [FH] [Aristegui]
31 Kenya 124
Note: The East African country on the Indian Ocean is known for the Maasai Mara Great Migration, its capital Nairobi and neighboring Kibera, one of Africa's largest urban slum settlements.

The country is plagued by ethnic conflict, corruption and political dysfunction and has been the target of repeated al-Shabaab terrorist attacks.
Kenya is a multiparty democracy that holds regular elections, but its political rights and civil liberties are seriously undermined by pervasive corruption and brutality by security forces. The country's media and civil society sectors are vibrant, even as journalists and human rights defenders remain vulnerable to restrictive laws and intimidation. [FH] [Brookings]
31 Kyrgyzstan 124
Note: The landlocked mountainous country in Central Asia, west of China, used to be one of the constituent republics of the Soviet Union.

Two revolutions and many protests ousted authoritarian presidents in 2005, 2010 and 2020. In 2021, Kyrgyzstan adopted a presidential form of government in a constitutional referendum that will give the newly elected President Sadyr Japarov greater powers if the new constitution is adopted-possibly this year. In a victory speech at his campaign headquarters in the capital Bishkek on Sunday, Japarov promised to govern the country with an open, corruption-free government. [BBC]
31 Mexico 124
Note: Mexico is known as the country whose northern border was decorated with a beautiful wall on behalf of former US President Donald Trump. The country is also known for violent clashes between rival Mexican crime groups and as one of the leading drug suppliers to the United States.

Mexico had endured a particularly bloody and violent campaign season in the run-up to the 2021 midterm elections, when the country renewed its 500-seat lower house of Congress, determined governors in 15 of its 32 states, and elected hundreds of mayors and local deputies. At least 34 candidates have been assassinated since the campaign began in April, while dozens more have been targeted and attacked. Mexican authorities have recorded 398 threats or attacks against candidates. [The Guardian]
31 Pakistan 124
Note: The country in South Asia came into being when the British agreed to partition India in 1947, merging the Muslim-majority regions of eastern and northwestern British India.

In 2020 Pakistan dropped four points on the CPI. The increase in corruption perception comes despite the extraordinary efforts of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), which claims to have recovered Rs363 billion in the last two years and the Public Accounts Committee, which claims to have recovered Rs300 billion over the same period. [Dawn]

According to sources of the Risk & Compliance Portal, corruption is rampant in all sectors and institutions of Pakistan. Bribes and irregular payments in return for favorable judgments are common in the country's judicial system, and inefficient government bureaucracy and high levels of corruption present significant barriers to business in Pakistan. [R&C]
30 Azerbaijan 129
Note: The country in the Caucasus is situated between Eastern Europe and Western Asia, bordering the Caspian Sea in the east. The former Soviet republic is one of the six independent Turkic states, and since 1995 it has been a presidential republic with a kind of hereditary succession in the presidency.
Heydar Aliyev was the third President of Azerbaijan from October 1993 to October 2003. Heydar ran a heavy-handed police state; he rigged elections and muzzled the press. He was succeeded in 2003 by his son Ilham Aliyev, whose wife Mehriban Aliyeva became Vice President of Azerbaijan in February 2017.

Power in Azerbaijan's authoritarian regime remains concentrated in the hands of Ilham Aliyev and his extended family. Corruption is widespread, and formal political opposition has been weakened by years of persecution. The authorities have carried out a sweeping crackdown on civil liberties in recent years, leaving little room for independent expression or activism. [FH]
30 Gabon 129
Note: The tropical, oil-rich country on the Atlantic coast in west-central Africa was a former French colony that became fully independent in July 1960.

El Hadj Omar Bongo Ondimba - one of the longest-ruling heads of state in the world - dominated the country's political scene for four decades (1967-2009). Following President Bongo's death in 2009, a new election brought his son, Ali Bongo Ondimba, to power. His controversial reelection in August 2016 sparked unprecedented opposition protests that resulted in the burning of the parliament building. [CIA]

In December 2019, the spokesman for Gabon's president was arrested; he is one of eight people in custody for theft and money laundering as part of Gabon's new anti-corruption campaign. Ali Bongo has vowed to crack down on graft since returning from months-long medical leave following a stroke in late 2018 that raised questions about his fitness to rule and fueled instability in the oil-dependent nation. [REUTERS]
30 Malawi 129
Note: Malawi is an elongated landlocked country on the western shore of Lake Nyasa in the Great Rift Valley in southeastern Africa.

With a score of 30, Malawi is a clear loser in the CPI, which has dropped seven points since 2012. Notorious for the 2013 "cash-gate scandal," which involved high levels of public sector corruption and misappropriation of funds, the country continues to struggle with corruption. A recent government audit uncovered public sector corruption on an astronomical scale, with an estimated $1 billion allegedly stolen by the previous government. A new government elected in June 2020 promises a fresh start. Several corruption investigations are already underway, and some important arrests have been made in connection with a cement import scandal. [TI]
30 Mali 129
Note: Mali is a large landlocked country between the Sahara and the Sahel; it was formerly part of French West Africa.

In recent years, Mali is plagued by armed conflicts, banditry, ethnic-based violence, and extra-judicial military killings. In August 2020, the military arrested Mali's president Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, his prime minister, and other senior members of the government and established a military junta called the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP). [CIA]

Under threat of international sanctions, the military handed power to a caretaker government that pledged to reform the constitution and hold elections within 18 months. But figures with ties to the army dominate this body, and there is growing anger over their prominent role and the slowness of reforms. [Al Jazeera]
30 Russia 129
Note: Russia, the world's largest country, is the worst-ranked country in the Corruption Perceptions Index with territory in Europe.

Russia's weaponization of corruption—its export of corrupt practices via the abuse of western legal and financial loopholes in order to further its geopolitical goals—has stimulated anti-American sentiment in Europe and galvanized extremist forces on both sides of the Atlantic. While Moscow pushes its anti-globalization narrative, it is simultaneously taking advantage of globalization to export its own version of crony capitalism to many countries in the OSCE region *.
The Russian brand of corruption thrives off of globalization and depends on access to the global financial system. Under this model, weak property rights and a lack of rule of law support a corrupt system at home, where markets are distorted and courts politicized. State funds are looted and assets are acquired through corporate raiding and asset stripping. Cronies then siphon off national funds to safe havens outside of former Soviet countries. [CSCE]

* The OSCE has 57 participating States from Europe, Central Asia and North America, including the United States, Canada, EU member states, EFTA members and former Soviet and Yugoslav countries.

CPI - Part I - The Good CPI - Part III - The Ugly


The top-ranked countries (with a score of 50 to 100) are the nations with the lowest level of corruption (perception) or the least corrupt nations worldwide.

The lowest ranked countries (with a score less than 30) are the political entities (states) with the highest level of corruption (perception), the most corrupt countries in the world.

Between these groups are the countries that score only between 30 and 50 in the CPI. Countries where some progress has been made in passing anti-corruption laws, but where corruption is still widespread due to weak enforcement.

The Transparency International CPI Score relates to perceptions of the degree of corruption as seen by business people and country analysts and ranges between 100 (highly clean) and 0 (highly corrupt).

Note: Rankings may not take into account recent or ongoing political developments in countries, such as Myanmar and Belarus, the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia, or Israel's land grab.

Related Categories:

Corruption Perceptions Index 2016
Corruption Perceptions Index 2005

Countries and Press Freedom
The Press Freedom Index.
Human Development Index (HDI)
Countries by standards of the UN Human Development Index.
First, Second and Third World
A list of states of the first, second and the third world, with an explanation of the terms.
Nations in Transit
Comparative study of post-communist nations in transit to democracy.



Countries by Continents
Africa | Asia | Australia-Oceania | The Americas | Europe