In Pictures: The 25 Most Corrupt Countries in the World

Transparency International has just published its latest Corruption Perceptions Index, which ranks 180 countries according to their perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and businessmen and -women. Each country is scored from 0 to 100, where 0 is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean. AFP
Somalia is ranked the most corrupt country in the world, with a score of just 9 out of 100. (Image: Somali soldiers patrol at the scene of a truck bomb in Mogadishu on October 15, 2017.)AFP

Every year, Berlin-based non-profit Transparency International publishes its "Corruption Perceptions Index," a list of 180 countries and territories ranked "by their perceived levels of public sector corruption."

The organization has chapters in more than 100 countries – "From villages in rural India to the corridors of power in Brussels" – and a clear, ambitious mission statement: "We want  a world free of corruption."

By its own admission, the goal is some way off, despite the continued work of volunteers, NGOs, activists and reporters across the world. Introducing 2017's list of countries and their perceived levels of corruption, the organization said: "This year’s Corruption Perceptions Index highlights that the majority of countries are making little or no progress in ending corruption, while further analysis shows journalists and activists in corrupt countries risking their lives every day in an effort to speak out."

The analysts produce the Corruption Perceptions Index based on input from 13 data sources, all of which must meet a number of specific criteria to be included. As the organization states, measuring corruption can only ever be a matter of perception as it "generally comprises illegal activities, which are deliberately hidden and only come to light through scandals, investigations or prosecutions."

It continues: "While researchers from academia, civil society and governments have made advances in terms of objectively measuring corruption in specific sectors, to date there is no indicator which measures objective national levels of corruption directly and exhaustively determined as a perception."

The most recent list, published in February 2018 and drawing on the previous two years' analysis, finds New Zealand and Denmark at its most squeaky clean end, ranking 89 and 88 respectively (where 100 represents the least corrupt country and zero the most corrupt). The U.S. was perceived as the 16th least corrupt country in the world, though the data was collated before many of the alleged scandals that have dominated the news agenga in the U.S. over the past two years.

At the most corrupt end of the scale, where Newsweek's slideshow begins, we find many countries long tainted by civil war, poverty and historical corruption. Two thirds of the countries included in the study received a score of below 50. Here are the very worst of them all.

2. South Sudan: 12/100. (Image: Sudan People's Liberation Army soldiers battle opposition fighters outside Malakal on October 16, 2016.)AFP
3. Syria: 14/100. (Image: A man carries a child injured in government bombing in the rebel-held town of Hamouria, in the besieged Eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of Damascus on February 19, 2018.)AFP
4. Afghanistan: 15/100. (Image: An Afghan farmer harvests opium sap from a poppy field in the Chaparhar district of Nangarhar province on April 19, 2016.)AFP
5. Yemen: 16/100. (Image: Houthi rebel fighters inspect the damage after a reported airstrike carried out by the Saudi-led coalition targeted the presidential palace in Sanaa on December 5, 2017.)AFP
5. Sudan: 16/100. (Image: A convoy of vehicles carrying illegal migrants who were abandoned in the desert by human traffickers arrives in Dongola on May 3, 2014.)AFP
7. Libya: 17/100. (Image: A pro-government fighter looks at the site of an Islamic State militant group suicide bomb in Sirte on August 16, 2016.)AFP
7: North Korea: 17/100. (Image: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects a launching drill of a medium- and long-range strategic ballistic rocket on September 16, 2017.)AFP
7. Guinea-Bissau: 17/100. (Image: Security forces try to protect a Nigerian man accused of kidnapping a child in Bissau on October 8, 2013. The man was later lynched by the angry crowd.)AFP
7. Equatorial Guinea: 17/100. (Image: Signs are seen on the border with Equatorial Guinea and Gabon on May 23, 2015.)Reuters
11. Venezuela: 18/100. (Image: A demonstrator catches fire, after the gas tank of a police motorbike exploded, during clashes in a protest against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas on May 3, 2017.)AFP
11. Iraq: 18/100. (Image: A boy cycles past an oil field that was set on fire by retreating Isis fighters Qayyarah on October 21, 2016.)Getty Images
13. Turkmenistan: 19/100. (Image: People gather for the inauguration of a huge gilded monument to Turkmenistan's President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov in Ashgabat, on May 25, 2015.)Reuters