Denmark and New Zealand were the nations seen as most free of corruption and Somalia was ranked last, according to this year’s Corruption Perceptions Index.
The report, released today by Berlin-based Transparency International, ranks states based on how corrupt their public sectors are perceived to be. More than two-thirds of the 177 countries surveyed in 2013 scored below 50 on a scale where zero is seen as highly corrupt and 100 perceived as very clean. Greece, the epicenter of Europe’s sovereign debt crisis which erupted in 2009, was among the biggest improvers, while Australia was one of those to witness the largest declines.
“All countries still face the threat of corruption at all levels of government, from the issuing of local permits to the enforcement of laws and regulations,” Huguette LaBelle, chairman of Transparency International, said in a statement.
Finland, Sweden, Norway, Singapore, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Australia, Canada, Luxembourg and Germany were in the top 12 “clean” countries in that order. North Korea, Afghanistan, Sudan, South Sudan, Libya and Iraq respectively were perceived as the worst for corruption, and ranked from 175th to 171st.
“Corruption within the public sector remains one of the world’s biggest challenges, particularly in areas such as political parties, police and justice systems,” Transparency International said.
The biggest improvers this year were Myanmar, Brunei, Laos, Senegal, Nepal, Estonia, Greece, Lesotho and Latvia. The biggest decliners were Syria, the Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Libya, Mali, Spain, Eritrea, Mauritius, Yemen, Australia, Iceland, Slovenia, Guatemala, Madagascar and Congo Republic, according to Transparency International.
Among the countries and territories seen to have the lowest corruption were the U.K., ranked 14th, Hong Kong 15th, Japan 18th, the U.S. 19th, France 22nd, Estonia 28th, Botswana 30th, Israel 36th, Poland 38th and South Korea 46th.
Italy placed 69, Brazil, Serbia and South Africa tied at 72, China was in slot 80, India 94, Mexico 106, Indonesia 114, Russia 127, Kazakhstan 140, while Iran, Nigeria and Ukraine tied at 144, Zimbabwe was at 157 and Venezuela 160.
TI draws on data from independent institutions specializing in governance and business-climate analysis to compile the Corruption Perceptions Index.