Denmark remained the least corrupt country in the world for the fifth year running, according to the recently released Transparency International corruption perceptions index for 2022, while the U.S. improved its score for the first time since 2016.
The Berlin-based anti-corruption advocacy group’s annual analysis of public perception of corruption on a scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean) showed no change at the very top of the ranking. However, the organization found that the average global score — 43 — remained unchanged for more than a decade, while two-thirds of countries have scores below 50.
Thanks to a series of ethics scandals, the UK dropped out of the top 12 for the first time since at least 2012, while other advanced economies allowed the fight against public corruption to stagnate, the organization said. Other traditionally top-scoring countries also saw their scores fall, including Australia, Austria, Canada and Luxembourg.
Somalia was the lowest-scoring country, followed by Syria and South Sudan, owing to conflict and restrictions of basic personal and political freedoms.
“Corruption has made our world a more dangerous place,” Transparency International chairperson Delia Ferreira Rubio said. “As governments have collectively failed to make progress against it, they fuel the current rise in violence and conflict — and endanger people everywhere. The only way out is for states to do the hard work, rooting out corruption at all levels to ensure governments work for all people, not just an elite few.”