Corruption is a major issue in every country and poses a significant threat to the world. It disrupts governance, hinders development, and undermines the law. Transparency International has published a list of the ten least corrupt countries globally with their Corruption Perception Index (CPI) scores.
The CPI score ranges from 0 to 100, with 0 indicating a highly corrupt country and 100 indicating a perfect country with no corruption. Check out the top 10 countries with the lowest levels of corruption.
10 Luxembourg, CPI : 77
Luxembourg is the wealthiest and one of the smallest nations in the European Union. It is also the only remaining sovereign Duchy globally. Luxembourg has a unitary parliamentary system with a constitutional monarchy, and it’s known for having a low level of corruption. The country has implemented effective anti-corruption laws, providing a robust legal framework to combat corruption.
The country’s legal framework criminalizes offenses such as facilitation payments, bribery, gifts, and office abuse. Although there have been a few corruption cases in Luxembourg, they mainly exposed the conflicts of interest between the private and public sectors that have affected transparency. However, bribery and facilitation payments are not prevalent in Luxembourg.
9 Germany, CPI : 79
According to Freedom House’s report, Germany’s ability is generally sufficient to ensure integrity and prevent corruption in state bodies because of a robust institutional setup. Besides, Germany’s fraud and corruption risks are mainly prevalent in the construction and public procurement sectors. This one of the least corrupt countries offers robust institutional and legal anti-corruption frameworks.
The government prohibited facilitation payments. They also considered hospitality and small-value gifts illegal depending on the intent, benefit, and value. Moreover, foreign bribery enforcement has increased significantly in recent years, and officials have successfully prosecuted many individuals and prominent German companies from businesses.
8 Netherlands, CPI : 80
The OECD has recognized that the Netherlands has demonstrated significant progress in investigating and penalizing foreign bribery. The country has also gained its spot in the top ten most honest countries, with a public sector corruption rating of 80. Aside from occasional weather and traffic congestion, the Netherlands is a beautiful place to reside.
Compared to its neighbors, the Netherlands ranks ahead of Germany, the United Kingdom, and Belgium. In daily life, individuals will not encounter any bribery requests. Additionally, corruption in the Netherlands is rare across all major sectors, including the judiciary, business, politics, and police.
7 Switzerland, CPI : 82
The banking sector has been deemed one of the most corrupt by officials due to its strong secrecy laws and a large offshore banking industry. Money laundering and the hiding of illegally obtained funds are prevalent in this sector. The government has effectively implemented anti-bribery measures, with gifts and hospitality considered illegal depending on their value, intent, and benefit.
However, as noted by Transparency International, Switzerland still has room for improvement in reducing corruption. The country has significant deficiencies in combating money laundering, protecting whistleblowers, and addressing corruption in the private sector and sports industry.
6 Sweden, CPI : 83
The Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention, corruption in Sweden, defined the country as “the abuse of power.” However, instances of bribes and improper rewards are rare in the country. Most Swedes, about seven out of ten, believe that the judiciary’s independence is fairly or very good, indicating their well-maintained rule of law.
The judicial system in Sweden operates impartially and independently, with consistent application of laws. In the 2022 Corruption Perception Index (CPI), Sweden tied with a score of 83, equaling Singapore. Corruption in Sweden is not a significant obstacle to business, as the country’s Penal Code criminalizes most forms of corruption.
5 Singapore, CPI : 83
Singapore is the fifth least corrupt country in the world. Efforts of the Singapore Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau are responsible for investigating and prosecuting corruption cases in the country’s private and public sectors. Singapore’s reputation for incorruptibility is well-deserved, and its success in fighting corruption is due to a comprehensive framework that includes laws, enforcement, adjudication, and public administration.
Notably, Singapore is the only Asian country to make it into the top 10, and the government’s unwavering political commitment, leadership, and zero-tolerance culture against corruption attribute to its achievement. These values have become ingrained in Singapore’s psyche and way of life.
4 Norway, CPI : 84
Norway is a country with a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary system. The judiciary branch in Norway is entirely independent of the executive and legislative branches. Norway also has strict anti-corruption laws that help maintain high standards within the public sector. Crime rates in Norway are low, and crime has significantly declined in recent years.
In fact, Transparency International’s 2022 Perceptions Index ranked Norway as the 5th least corrupt nation out of 180 countries. The Norwegian Penal Code criminalizes various offenses such as active and passive bribery, fraud, extortion, trading in influence, breach of trust, and money laundering to uphold transparency in business dealings.
3 New Zealand, CPI : 87
According to the 2022 Corruption Perceptions Index, New Zealand ranks second out of 180 countries. It holds a CPI score of 88. New Zealand’s parliamentary system with a constitutional monarchy and its judicial system are responsible for the low corruption levels in companies. The judiciary ensures accountability and impartiality.
Although there is some external risk of corruption within the police service, the government has effective mechanisms to prevent and detect crime, and there have been no reported incidents of impunity. Business executives have a high level of trust in the police service, and there are few business costs associated with violence and crime.
2 Finland, CPI : 87
According to public opinion and global standards, Finland has low levels of corruption. It ranks as the third-most-transparent country in the world. While there have been a few instances of corruption involving the government, such as political donations, decision-making in state investments, and election funding, these are rare occurrences.
Finland’s non-traditional types of corruption include tax evasion, gifts, hospitality, and conflicts of interest. Finland has a transparent regulatory system, and its political leaders are firmly committed to preventing corruption. The independent judiciary and robust legal framework also contribute to the country’s low levels of corruption.
1 Denmark, CPI : 90
Transparency International has recognized Denmark as the world’s least corrupt country, scoring 90 on the CPI. This ranking has been consistent since the first report in 1995. The public in Denmark does not view corruption as a significant societal issue, and bribes to access public benefits and services are virtually non-existent.
Denmark offers a strong business environment where companies can confidently interact with public officials and politicians. Denmark’s emphasis on integrity in politics is the primary way it combats corruption. This emphasis, coupled with access to public expenditure, an independent judicial system, press freedom, and higher standards and integrity of public officials, has earned Denmark its top spot.