The 10 Most Corrupt Countries in the World

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Photo by Daniel Garcia/AFP/Getty Images

Photo by Daniel Garcia/AFP/Getty Images

Corruption and economic turmoil often go hand-in-hand. In western nations like the United States, and in many European countries, we often see corruption come to light as the result of whistleblowers or journalistic efforts. But in many other areas of the world, corruption plays a major role in fostering staggering poverty and broken economic systems.

Oftentimes, specific power structures and government architectures provide an easier means for corrupt politicians, businessmen, or military officials to exploit the system. Many governments have their roots in constitutions from generations ago, and have outgrown their current systems. Many other countries are ruled by a variety of independent tribal leaders and often lack a centralized power structure with any meaningful sway.

Transparency International developed a comprehensive list of the world’s most corrupt nations last year, and the countries that top the list probably won’t come as much of a surprise to many. The study ranks countries on a scale from 0 to 100, with zero being the most corrupt, and 100 being the least.

Of course, corruption comes in a variety of forms, so getting an incredibly accurate gauge is difficult. But perception itself is a very strong tool, and can have a big effect on its own. If the study reveals anything, it’s that the world overall has a huge issue in terms of corrupt officials.

By looking at the Corruptions Perception Index, along with the existing power structures and economic systems within each country, the picture does become a bit clearer. That’s why we dug a little deeper, examining the rankings seen on the following pages.

For good measure, we’ve included the United States on the list to give perspective as to where America ranks internationally in terms of corruption and economic strife. By Transparency International’s calculations and scale, the U.S. is sitting fairly pretty, although it’s common knowledge that there are definitely issues with how things are run in Washington.

Other countries you might expect to see like Russia, Mexico, or Venezuela all have their places as well, and the full list of 177 nations can be viewed straight at the source from Transparency International.

Here are the most corrupt nations in the world, as ranked by Transparency International, with additional insight into the issues and factors plaguing each one.

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