[JURIST] Somalia and Myanmar rank as the world's most corrupt nations in 2007 according to the latest annual Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index [corruption index; press release] released Wednesday. The index ranked 180 countries based on observations by businesspeople and analysts, giving each a score between 1 and 10. Myanmar and Somalia tied for the lowest score of 1.4 out of 10. Transparency International chairman Huguette Labelle said that impoverished countries or countries torn apart by conflict are at the highest risk for persistent corruption, as unscrupulous officials may take advantage of desperation to line their own pockets.
The report did find significant improvement in many African and South East Asian countries from last year's report:
Scores are significantly higher in several African countries in the 2007 CPI. These include Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa and Swaziland. These results reflect the positive progress of anti-corruption efforts in Africa and show that genuine political will and reform can lower perceived levels of corruption.
Other countries with a significant improvement include Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Dominica, Italy, FYR Macedonia, Romania and Suriname. Countries with a significant worsening in perceived levels of corruption in 2007 include Austria, Bahrain, Belize, Bhutan, Jordan, Laos, Macao, Malta, Mauritius, Oman, Papua New Guinea and Thailand.
Last year, the 2006 report listed [JURIST report] Iraq, Haiti, Guinea, and Myanmar as the world's most corrupt nations. Myanmar's score dropped from 1.9 to 1.4 this year. Iraq and Haiti also dropped, while Guinea remained level. Somalia was not included in the 2006 listing. The 2007 report cited Denmark, Finland and New Zealand as the world's least corrupt countries, with each scoring 9.4. AP has more.