The 12 most corrupt countries in the world

Russia Vladimir PutinAPRussian President Vladimir Putin gestures as he speaks at the 10th business forum ‘Business Russia’ in Moscow on Tuesday, May 26, 2015.

The recent FIFA scandal shone a spotlight on the prevalence of global corruption.

A recent report from Verisk Maplecroft, a risk analysis and forecasting company, now identifies where similar occurrences happen most often in the world.

Defining corruption as “exerting influence, often through the provision of money or favours, to obtain a service,” Verisk examined the economies of 198 countries from August 2012 to August 2014 based on reports by Transparency International, Freedom House, and the US Department of State and determined that developing countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East suffer the most from corrupt practices.

Throughout the two-year period, Verisk tracked five factors: the frequency of corruption, the duration of the corruption, the spread of corruption, the severity of the corruption, and the ability of those committing corruption to operate with impunity.

Analysts at Verisk Maplecroft then quantified this data into a predefined scoring system on a scale of 0 to 10, with 0 being at extreme risk for corruption and 10 being at low risk for corruption.

Iraq oil gushREUTERS/Essam Al-SudaniIraqi workers stand near a pipeline as it ejects oil at Al Tuba oil field in Basra, southeast of Baghdad February 19, 2015.

In particular, Verisk determined that 45% of the countries deemed at “extreme” risk for corruption are located in Sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, oil, gas, and mining firms are the businesses most frequently exposed to demands for bribery, which dragged several Middle Eastern countries, as well as Russia, toward the bottom of the rankings.

“[Corruption] risks are particularly prevalent in developing economies,” Trevor Slack, legal and regulatory analyst at Verisk Maplecroft, wrote in the report “Factors such as weak rule of law and a lack of institutional capacity in these markets undermine efforts to combat entrenched systems of patronage, while exposure to corrupt public officials and a reliance on third party agents is also higher.”

Out of the 198 countries, Verisk found 73 at “extreme” risk for corruption, 64 at “high” risk, 38 at “medium” risk, and 23 were at “low” risk. (Denmark was rated as the least corrupt country, the US was rated 23rd least corrupt).

#10 South Sudan (tied)

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir attends the signing of the Standard Gauge Railway agreement with China at the State House in Nairobi May 11, 2014.

Score: 0.15/10

A recent film by Al Jazeera entitled 'South Sudan: Country of Dreams' examines how the world's newest country (created in July of 2011) spiraled into civil war.

'Despite its oil wealth, extensive corruption plagued the fledgling democracy,' Al Jazeera reported. 'Less than three years after gaining independence, the new country descended into civil war, leading to the deaths of tens of thousands of its people and the displacement of almost two million.'

#10 Russia (tied)

Score: 0.15/10

Here are just a few recent examples of shady Russian practices:

1. The imprisonment of politician Alexei Navalny, a Moscow mayoral candidate and one of Vladimir Putin's biggest critics.

2. Winning the 2018 FIFA World Cup bid by allegedly buying votes from FIFA delegates.

3. The alleged close relationship between the Russian government and the construction companies involved in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

#10 Myanmar (tied)

Score: 0.15/10

A May 2015 profile on the southeast Asian country by the BBC reported that the Burmese economy is 'one of the least developed in the world and is suffering the effects of decades of stagnation, mismanagement, and isolation. Key industries have long been controlled by the military, and corruption is rife.'

#6 Libya (tied)

Score: 0.13/10

According to an April report by, administrators who are overseeing Libya's vast oil wealth, which accounts for 90% of Libya's revenues, have been accused of gross economic mismanagement.

Other allegations include officials being pressured to appoint certain people to key positions of power.

#6 Iraq (tied)

Score: 0.13/10

Al Monitor talked to an anonymous source who works in Iraq as a civil engineer. The source described a culture of corruption that has prevailed since the end of the US war with Iraq

''It's not just about financial corruption, but administrative corruption and circumvention of the law as well,' the source told AL Monitor. 'Officials are resorting to their relatives and friends by registering companies in their names for form's sake when these companies do not have skilled technicians or mechanisms. With the help of officials, (the companies) sign a contract to rebuild a school, for example, and they carry out the projects either by selling it to another contractor or by recruiting workers and developing mechanisms. This ultimately leads to failed projects.'

#6 Equatorial Guinea (tied)

Score: 0.13/10

A 2014 profile of the small African nation by Human Rights Watch found that under President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who has been in power since 1979, corruption, poverty, and repression plague Equatorial Guinea.

'Vast oil revenues fund lavish lifestyles for the small elite surrounding the president, while a large proportion of the population continues to live in poverty,' according to Human Rights Watch. 'Mismanagement of public funds and credible allegations of high-level corruption persist, as do other serious abuses, including arbitrary detention, secret detention, and unfair trials.

#6 Afghanistan (tied)

Score: 0.13/10

Earlier this year, the Fiscal Times reported that Afghanistan would not be able to meet its budgetary obligations for 2016 due to plummeting domestic revenue. The reason? Half of its revenue generated by customs, which accounts for a third of Afghanistan's domestic revenue, had been stolen.

The Fiscal times added that Afghanistan has one of the lowest rates of revenue collection in the world.

#4 Sudan (tied)

Score: 0.12/10

To find an example of Sundanese corruption, one need look no further than the recent flight of Sudanese President al-Bashir from South Africa before he could be arrested for genocide.

As Politico reported, 'corruption is part of the ANC's (Africa National Congress) DNA.'

#4 Central African Republic (tied)

Score: 0.12/10

A BBC evaluation of the Central African Republic (CAR) in February found that corruption is rampant and undermines the highly profitable timber and diamond industries. The BBC added that the CAR is one of the least developed countries in the world.

#1 Somalia (tied)

Score: 0/10

In 2013, the U.N. released a scathing report on Somali corruption.

One particular passage stands out, as reported by the Wall Street Journal: 'Somalia's central bank has essentially become a 'slush fund' for patronage networks with 80% of withdrawals made for private purposes rather than running government programs and much of the funds transferred into the bank not traceable at all.'

#1 North Korea (tied)

Score: 0/10

If you needed any more examples to convince you that North Korea is a corrupt, totalitarian state, here are a few by the 2015 Economic Index of Freedom:

1. Bribery is pervasive at every level of the state and economy.

3. The Workers' Party, the Korean People's Army, and cabinet officials run companies that compete to earn foreign exchange.

4. Almost all property belongs to the state.

5. The government controls exports and imports as well as domestically produced goods.

#1 Democratic Republic of the Congo

Score: 0/10

According to a 2014 report by Transparency International, the corruption is so deeply rooted in the DRC, that there's little motivation to try to unearth it at this point.

'President Kabila has declared on numerous occasions his commitment to fighting corruption, but there is neither indication of firm political will, nor evidence of progress beyond the establishment of a strong legal framework, which is rarely enforced in practice,' according Transparency International.

Now that you know which countries are the most corrupt ...

NOW WATCH: Money & Markets videos

Want to read a more in-depth view on the trends influencing Australian business and the global economy? BI / Research is designed to help executives and industry leaders understand the major challenges and opportunities for industry, technology, strategy and the economy in the future. Sign up for free at