The Most Corrupt Countries In The World Right Now

10 Most Corrupt Countries in 2020 10 Libya When it comes to media coverage, there’s often a regime du jour in the headlines

Right now, for example, it’s Iran But here’s the thing, these stories don’t end with the 24 hour news cycle and they often start long before the mainstream media picks them up Libya is a perfect example According to Transparency International, the country’s corruption has increased steadily since the fall of Gadaffi, but don’t be fooled about why The main reason corruption is becoming more blatant after his death isn’t that he was some kind of gatekeeper for government ethics – Libyan government misconduct came into its own under his tenure

Rather it was just that he was a lightning rod for opposition Now, instead of a corrupt dictator opposed by a coalition of resistance, there’s consistent conflict between that loose collection of factions These include examples like the Tripoli Revolutionaries, Abu Salim Central Security Forces, the Nawasi Battalion, the Special Deterrence Forces, Salah al-Burki Brigade, 301st Brigade and Tarhuna 7th Brigade It’s not hard to see how a UN-appointed government of national unity would struggle to tackle corruption under those conditions 9

North Korea I bet you weren’t expecting to see North Korea all the way down here, eh? Well, it turns out the infamous dictatorship has totally transformed its practices! Nah just kidding, it’s still a heinously repressive totalitarian state, there’s just single points between the scores of the most corrupt countries on earth, so things tend to shift around year-on-year Over the last year, North Korea’s regime hasn’t changed a whole lot I mean, you know the score: military posturing, avoiding sanctions, inflammatory messages towards its enemies, all that jazz But one thing that has become clear to the outside world is how the desperation in the country is shaping its day-to-day life The corruption reaches down to the lowest levels of the bureaucracy, where officials accept bribes as a matter of course and the people offer them just to survive

One particular type of corruption is counterfeiting, whether it’s medicines, alcohol or narcotics That’s become such an endemic issue that the country has threatened the death penalty for traffickers and banishment for their families, regardless of their position in civilian life or the government 8 Afghanistan As the stage for some of the most messy and complicated international relations in the world – not to mention decades of all-encompassing conflict – it shouldn’t be all that surprising that corruption has crept into the political dealings of Afghanistan But thanks to the extensive Afghanistan report published by The Washington Post in 2019, we know precisely where the current corruption is rooted: US Military Aid

According to government insiders, the country is experiencing both an influx of American cash and a gross misallocation of where it goes Thanks to aid and defence contracts, alongside cash offers for information, a good deal of the funding put towards solidifying Afghanistan’s political institutions ends up in the foundations of so-called “poppy palaces” and factions deemed the lesser of two evils In fact, according to forensic accountant Gert Berthold, “40 percent of the money ended up in the pockets of insurgents, criminal syndicates or corrupt Afghan officials” Perhaps the best summary came from one USAID official who said “We used the bad guys to get the badder guys We [thought we] could circle back and get the bad guys later, only we never did

” 7 Equatorial Guinea Right now, Equatorial Guinea has the highest GDP per capita of any African nation, so it’s sad to see that a *theoretically* thriving economy has, in the words of Human Rights Watch, “turned corruption into an art form” – but once you know the situation, it’s not hard to see how things came to be this way Long, oft-repeated story short – it’s oil Roughly two decades ago, the country discovered its reserves of black gold and quickly jumped from one of the world’s poorest to its comparatively rich status But that kind of dramatic shift in fortunes is often accompanied by problems keeping account of it

For Equatorial Guinea, that financial corruption comes largely in the form of pointless infrastructure projects, like highways to nowhere and empty 5-star hotels Corrupt government officials will commit more money than is necessary for their completion and then skim the difference off the top Even worse, that’s at the expense of regular people Welfare indicators like vaccination and school enrollment rates have actually DROPPED since the country found oil Deposits are set to run out by 2035 though so they probably need a plan B

6 Sudan For a country to face the extent of corruption necessary to make it onto this list, it has to be pretty damn systemic But even so, the roots of Sudan’s current woes rest in the hands of its now-deposed leader Omar Al-Bashir Oh, and decades of British rule, but that's a whole other kettle of fish Back in 1989, Al-Bashir seized power in Sudan through a bloodless coup and remained in power for a whole 30 years until 2019

During that time, there were no elections until 2010 and 2015, and he won both! That’s because the opposition boycotted the “political charade” While president, Al-Bashir oversaw rampant bureaucratic corruption, embezzlement and cronyism, to the point where very little of the country’s services functioned without some, er, greasing the wheel For example, according to a survey by Transparency International, around 40% of respondents reported having to pay a bribe – either to get things done faster or to get the authorities off their backs But after widespread protests in 2018, Al-Bashir was finally booted out of office and given… 2 years in prison That’ll teach him

5 Venezuela It’s hard for Venezuela to stay out of the headlines recently, with endless speculation about revolutions, coups and opportunistic swipes at Bernie Sanders through comparison with the country’s beleaguered constitution But while few people actually disagree that Venezuela is a failing authoritarian nightmare, it’s worth knowing what’s actually going on to make the corruption so acute Since following on from former leader and personal mentor Hugo Chavez, Maduro has overseen an atmosphere of spiralling poverty combined with the misuse of government instruments In fact, that mismanagement has seen Venezuela drop from South America’s richest country to a haven of misdealings

For example, Venezuelan officials bought black market currencies at wildly reduced rates and sold them back at the official exchange rate for tenfold profits On top of that, president Maduro saw recent opposition election gains as a threat, prompting him to rewrite the constitution to neuter their powers All of this has been a big story for a while, prompting international backing of opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president But now, corruption in his party threatens to crumble his support and cripple any opportunity for regime change 4

Yemen As a nation ravaged by instability, not to mention one of the most urgent humanitarian disasters right now, it shouldn’t exactly be surprising that Yemen is a hotbed of corruption – but the problems stretch back much further than its current troubles The problems cover everything from land sales lacking transparency to dodgy oil deals and doctors being hired on the basis of connections with no regard to their qualifications The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace think tank even claimed in 2010 that corruption was a “destructive beast” and a greater threat to the country’s stability than Al Qaeda Most recently, corruption has even entered famine relief efforts, with the UN

probing its OWN activity in the region But according to the Associated Press, Houthi [Hoo-thee] rebels stole the investigators’ evidence thanks to a tip-off by a corrupt UN official And worryingly, while corruption has long been an issue, the stats show that the recent sharp decline in standards from 2014 to now is directly related to the region’s current instability

So there’s little chance things can improve until the civil war is resolved 3 Syria Sad as it is, Syria has become a symbol of a failed state in many people’s minds There’s the constant infighting, intervention or lack thereof, authoritarian principles and most importantly to this list, breathtaking corruption A large amount of that corruption charge rests on the shoulders of Rami Makhlouf, cousin of, yep, you guessed it, President Assad

Before the war in 2011, Makhlouf was thought to control around 60% of Syria’s economy, which means that he said what goes in the country In fact, the US Treasury dept is known to have said that neglecting to give Makhlouf his cut might end up in a visit from Syrian intelligence Just like with other corrupt governments, this kind of cronyism is at the heart of the Syrian regime In the breakout of the war, protesters reserved a particular ire for the mogul, who they dubbed a “thief

” But that said, even Makhlouf wasn’t safe from Assad’s clutches in the end Back in December 2019, his assets were seized in a so-called “anti-corruption drive,” which could very well prove to be an attempt to save the government from bankruptcy 2 South Sudan As the newest country on this list, it’s understandable that there are going to be some teething judicial problems After all, how can you tackle corruption effectively when the measures to do are barely a decade old? But even so, the scale of corruption in South Sudan’s short, war-torn history is essentially all-encompassing

Bribery and gift-giving reach from the highest to the lowest levels of society, making any kind of safe business nearly impossible Perhaps the worst example here is the oil industry, which is not only still tied to Sudan, but its practices are so opaque that it’s virtually impossible to tell where the money’s flowing Though it’s worth saying that this isn’t strictly an internal problem – a 2019 report found that international investors are making endless shady deals with South Sudanese officials In one case, militias violently drove civilians away from a mining area to facilitate Chinese investment in the site That’s all despite anti-corruption legislation existing, but the courts are so weak and open to government influence that corrupt officials can operate with impunity

So let’s be honest here, they’re not off to the BEST start 1 Somalia There’s perhaps no better case study for how conflict breeds corruption than that of Somalia Having fought a bloody civil war from 1986 to 1992, the sub-Saharan country has never quite recovered Well, never recovered at all to be quite frank

Since then, the aftermath of the collapsed state has meant that pretty much every regulatory measure has failed Press freedom, which is integral to curbing corruption, is pretty much non-existent 64 journalists have been killed since 1992, making it very clear that any effort to fight corruption won’t go unpunished This is made all the worse by the fact that for most people, taxation and property rights are pretty much non-existent and people have little-to-no protection from the government But that’s not the case for the Al-Shabaab terrorist group, who are actively trying to overthrow the state and already hold significant territory

Unlike the government, Al-Shabaab is ruthless, but not exactly fair in collecting taxes So Somali citizens end up having to pay tax at gunpoint and usually none of it goes towards improving their own lives, creating a vicious circle of corruption that’s incredibly hard to escape

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