An international watchdog group says Afghanistan and Iraq, two countries that receive billions of dollars in international aid, are among the world's most corrupt nations.
In its annual corruption report, Transparency International named Somalia as the world's most corrupt country, scoring a low rating of 1.1 on a 10-point scale. It was followed closely by Afghanistan at 1.3, Burma at 1.4, and Sudan and Iraq, which were tied for fourth with scores of 1.5.
The group rates New Zealand as the country least afflicted by corruption, giving it a score of 9.4, followed by Denmark at 9.3, and Singapore and Sweden tied at 9.2.
Transparency International says overall the 2009 corruption list is "of great concern" because the majority of the 180 countries surveyed scored under five in the ranking.
The Berlin-based group says fragile, unstable states scarred by war and ongoing conflict continue to be the most plagued by corruption.
Transparency International Chair Huguette Labelle says the international community must find efficient ways to help war-torn countries develop and sustain their own institutions.
The organization's program coordinator Patrick Berg says countries like Botswana, Mauritius and Cape Verde that have made efforts to improve their governance structures have improved their standing.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP.