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The Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia have been ranked the most corrupt countries in the world.
The Maplecroft Corruption Risk Index places both African states as joint number one, followed by Burma in south east Asia and Sudan equal third.
African countries make up six of the top 10 most corrupt countries, though several African nations are also among the most improved.
Mozambique has seen the most improvement of the 197 countries in the index, moving from 51 – an “extreme risk” – to 71 – a “high risk” – over the course of a year, following a new anti-corruption law and subsequent convictions, according to Maplecroft.
Senegal has risen from 34 to 48, due to efforts by president Macky Sall to tackle corruption, while Burkina Faso has climbed 14 places to 54 and Papua New Guinea 18 places to 60. Botswana, at 154, remains the African country with the least corruption.
China’s position in the ranking has worsened, dropping from 88 to 75 in the “high risk” category.
The UK is placed at number 181, along with Germany, ahead of the US at 173. Andorra is the least corrupt country at 197.
The World Economic Forum estimates corruption adds up to 10 per cent to the cost of doing business globally and up to 25 per cent of the cost of procurement contracts in developing countries.
Trevor Slack, senior corruption analyst at Maplecroft, said: “Scandals continue to arise in all of the key growth markets and corruption remains one of the most prominent compliance risks that businesses face. Where corruption is widespread, it also impedes democracy, the rule of law, protection of human rights and economic development.”
The top 10 most corrupt countries in 2014
1=. Democratic Republic of Congo
6. Equatorial Guinea
8. North Korea