Transparency International’s 2008 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) scores show Somalia and Iraq are the most corrupt countries in the world, with Denmark being the least corrupt.
The Transparency International measures the CPI based on the perceived levels of public-sector corruption in a given country. It's a composite index derived from different expert and business surveys. The CPI uses a scale from zero (highly corrupt) to ten (highly clean) and it measured the CPI of 180 countries.
The CPI value shows the link between poverty, failed institutions, graft and how the strength of oversight mechanism prevails in that country.
Denmark, New Zealand and Sweden fill in the top of the list, with a score of 9.3, followed closely by Singapore at 9.2. Somalia is at the bottom of the pile with a measly score of 1.0, trailing behind Iraq and Myanmar at 1.3, with Haiti at 1.4. The United States has a CPI score of 7.3, meaning it's 18th in the world. Australia and Canada are ranked ninth with a CPI of 8.7 and the United Kingdom ranked 16th with a CPI of 7.7. For other scores, click here.
A low CPI and low-income usually translate into a humanitarian disaster for that country, and adds more problems for citizens. Huguette Labelle, Chair of Transparency International, said in the CPI report:
“In the poorest countries, corruption levels can mean the difference between life and death, when money for hospitals or clean water is in play...The continuing high levels of corruption and poverty plaguing many of the world’s societies amount to an ongoing humanitarian disaster and cannot be tolerated. But even in more privileged countries, with enforcement disturbingly uneven, a tougher approach to tackling corruption is needed.”
When compared with CPI scores of 2007, Bulgaria, Burundi, Maldives, Norway and the United Kingdom have shown a significant decline in their scores. Countries like Albania, Cyprus, Georgia, Mauritius, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, South Korea, Tonga and Turkey have improved significantly.
Corruption is seen in both poorer and wealthier countries. Poor countries are often troubled with corrupt judiciaries and ineffective parliamentary oversight. Wealthier countries showing poor CPI scores have insufficient regulation of the private sector and weak oversight of financial institutions and transactions.
Labelle recommends the following procedures to reduce corruption levels:
“Stemming corruption requires strong oversight through parliaments, law enforcement, independent media and a vibrant civil society...When these institutions are weak, corruption spirals out of control with horrendous consequences for ordinary people, and for justice and equality in societies more broadly.”
Corruption is the worst enemy for the growth of a nation.