More countries around the globe improved their corruption scores than declined in the latest rankings by Transparency International (TI).
However, overall the average global score for the 168 nations on the 2015 index was 43, on a scale between 0 and 100, where 0 means the highest level of perceived corruption and 100 the least. A score below 50 indicates a “serious corruption problem”, according to TI.
TI said 2015 “showed that people working together can succeed in the battle against corruption”, citing the example of citizen activists in Guatemala, Sri Lanka and Ghana who had “worked hard to drive out the corrupt”.
José Ugaz, chairman of TI, said: “Corruption can be beaten if we work together. To stamp out the abuse of power, bribery and shed light on secret deals, citizens must together tell their governments they have had enough.
“The 2015 Corruptions Perceptions Index clearly shows that corruption remains a blight around the world. But 2015 was also a year when people again took to the streets to protest corruption. People across the globe sent a strong signal to those in power: it is time to tackle grand corruption.”
TI defines grand corruption as the “abuse of high-level power that benefits the few at the expense of the many, and causes serious and widespread harm to individuals and society”, while it “often goes unpunished”.
Denmark took the top spot as the least corrupt country in the ranking for the second year running, while the UK entered the top 10 for the first time. North Korea (pictured) and Somalia were the worst performing nations.
TI said top performing countries had the key characteristics of press freedom, publicly available budget information, integrity among those in power and independent judiciaries “that don’t differentiate between rich and poor”.
The top 10 least corrupt countries are:
4. New Zealand
10. United Kingdom