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Denmark and Finland the least corrupt nations of the world

The divide in perceived levels of corruption in rich and poor countries remains as sharp as ever, according to the 2007 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), released today by Transparency International, the global coalition against corruption. The Index put Hungary in least corrupt quarter of countries.

The 2007 Corruption Perceptions Index looks at perceptions of public sector corruption in 180 countries and territories - the greatest country coverage of any CPI to date – and is a composite index that draws on 14 expert opinion surveys. It scores countries on a scale from zero to ten, with zero indicating high levels of perceived corruption and ten indicating low levels of perceived corruption. A strong correlation between corruption and poverty continues to be evident. Forty percent of those scoring below three, indicating that corruption is perceived as rampant, are classified by the World Bank as low income countries.

Somalia and Myanmar share the lowest score of 1.4, while Denmark has edged up to share the top score of 9.4 with perennial high-flyers Finland and New Zealand. 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. The concentration of gainers in South East and Eastern Europe testifies to the galvanizing effect of the European Union accession process on the fight against corruption.

In the top 10 of the least corrupt countries are: Denmark, Finland, and New Zealand, with a 9.4 rating, at no. 1; Singapore and Sweden, 9.3, no. 4; Iceland, 9.2, no. 6; Netherlands and Switzerland, 9.0, no. 7; Canada and Norway, 8.7, no. 9.

Others ranked accordingly are:
11. Australia 8.6; 12. Luxembourg and Britain, 8.4; 14. Hong Kong, 8.3; 15. Austria 8.1; 16. Germany 7.8; 17. Ireland and Japan, 7.5; 19. France 7.3; 20. USA, 7.2; 21. Belgium 7.1; 22. Chile 7.0; 23. Barbados 6.9; 24. Saint Lucia, 6.8; 25. Spain and Uruguay, 6.7; 27. Slovenia 6.6; 28. Estonia and Portugal, 6.5; 30. Israel 6.1; 30. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 6.1; 32. Qatar, 6.0; 33. Malta, 5.8; 34. Macao, Taiwan, and the United Arab Emirates, 5.7; 37. Dominica 5.6; 38. Botswana 5.4; 39. Cyprus and Hungary 5.3; 41. Czech Republic and Italy, 5.2; 43. Malaysia, South Africa, South Korea, 5.1; 46. Bahrain 5.0, Bhutan, Costa Rica 5.0; 49. Cape Verde, Slovakia 4.9; 51. Latvia, Lithuania.

61. Cuba, Poland 4.2, 64. Bulgaria, Croatia, Turkey 4.1; 69. Ghana and Romania 3.7; 71. Senegal 3.6; 84. Bosnia and Hercegovina, Gabon, Jamaica, Kiribati, Lesotho, Macedonia, Maldives, Montenegro, Swaziland, 3.3; 118. Benin, Malawi, Mali, Sao Tome and Principe, Ukraine 2.7; 143. Gambia, Indonesia, Russia, Togo 2.3; 179. Myanmar, Somalia 1.4 (more details )