According to the Transparency Intenational Corruption Perception Index list, which ranks 175 countries by levels of corruption, the most corrupt in the world are Somalia and North Korea at the bottom of the table at joint 174th. Moving up the list, at 173rd is Sudan, followed by Afghanistan (172) South Sudan (171) Iraq (170) Turkmenistan (169) and Uzbekistan, Libya and Eritrea at joint 166th. The least corrupt, at the top of the table is Denmark in first position, followed by New Zealand (2) Finland (3) Sweden (4) Norway and Switzerland at joint 5th, followed by Singapore, Netherlands, Luxembourg and Canada in 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th places.

Some big players on the list, with their positions, are Australia (11) Germany (12) United Kingdom (14) Japan (16) Hong Kong and the United States (Joint 17 with Ireland and Barbados) United Arab Emirates (25) France (Joint 26 with Estonia and Qatar)) Portugal (Joint 31 with Puerto Rico, Cyprus and Botswana) Spain (Joint 37 with Israel) Saudi Arabia (Joint 55 with Bahrain, Jordan, Lesotho, Namibia and Rwanda) South Africa (Joint 67 with Kuwait) Brazil, Greece and Italy (all joint 69) India (Joint 85 with Burkina Faso, Jamaica, Peru, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago and Zambia) Egypt (94) China (100) and Nigeria Iran and Russia (Joint 136).

Some of the countries with a poor showing are, or have been making efforts to clean up. In Nigeria, land of scams and one of the most corrupt in Africa, new president Muhammadu Buhari has warned that life there, and his country’s reputation, will only improve if Nigerians give up their lawless ways. And in China the anti-corruption drive powered by president Xi Jinping since 2012 has resulted in a sharp reduction in the purchase of big-ticket items used as bribes, and the closure of expensive restaurants used for lavish entertaining. In a Sunday Times article about China’s economic slow-down one former manager of an upmarket restaurant used by Chinese officials told the newspaper: “When officials came to our restaurant they always spent at least 5,000 yuan (£500) and we gave them invoices for double that, but after the corruption campaign I didn’t see any customers like that”.

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