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Why Is Somalia the Most Corrupted Country in the World?
17. February 2019 at 09:05
by Ismail Hassan Mohamed
Somalia has ranked as the most corrupted country in the world, with instability and restricted press freedom as factors hindering transparency in the Sub-Saharan African nation. Why Is Somalia the Most Corrupted Country in the World?

Transparency International said in its Corruption Perception Index 2018 that most of the countries surveyed made very little progress in ending corruption last year. The index ranked 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption "according to experts and business people". that Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, Afghanistan and Yemen all marred by wars and insurgencies were the five most corrupted countries. On the other hand, New Zealand, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Switzerland were deemed as the least corrupted.


Last year, the country held presidential elections. Through an indirect vote, members of parliament and an upper house chose a president from 23 candidates. The vote, hailed as a landmark for a country that hadn't had a functional government since 1991, was marred by corruption scandals. Reports claimed parliamentarian candidates bought seats and votes for anywhere between $5,000 to $30,000 dollars.

A joint statement by the U.N. mission in Somalia (UNSOM) read: "International partners strongly believe that elections must be re-run for seats where the voting outcomes were clearly distorted by violence, corruption, intimidation, the unauthorized substitution of electoral college delegates and a failure to set aside one of every three seats for exclusively female candidates."

Freedom of speech

Transparency International noted that countries with the least protection for press and NGOs were also likely to be the most corrupted. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), at least 64 journalists have been killed in Somalia since 1992. More recently, the organization has documented at least five cases of journalists detained in connection with their work in the autonomous region of Somaliland since September 2017.

Earlier this month, CPJ called for the release of local journalist Abdishakur Abdullahi Ahmed, also known as Shaasha, who was arrested last December after being accused "of airing false news" after he reported critically on the local administration. Last year, the government passed a law prohibiting the spread of news deemed as false and propagandistic, without providing clear guidelines. Rights groups condemned the move, arguing it would curtail freedom of speech.

Journalists are under threat also by Al-Shabaab. Amnesty International said in its annual report on the state of human rights worldwide that the group prohibits journalists from operating in areas under its control.


Two consecutive seasons of poor rainfall resulted in severe water shortages last year, causing a drop in food production, livestock deaths and rising costs of food that pushed the country towards the brink of a famine just six years after some 260,000 people starved to death in the East African nation. Somalia relies heavily on foreign aid, which can however end up in the wrong hands unless controls are tightened in the country.


Somalia has been rocked by instability and bloody insurgencies since 1992. Last year, the country's capital Mogadishu became the site of one of Africa 's deadliest terror attacks when a truck laden with explosives was detonated, killing more than 500 people. "The government of Somalia is suffering from a decade-long problem that has been created by the inability of the government to have full control of the country.

"Corruption is a huge driver of instability but it is also fair to say that instability creates an environment for corruption to prosper as the legitimate state loses control of its institutions and the people that it is supposed to govern. Somalia's president, Mr."Farmajo" declared war on Al-Shabaab last year. He offered a 60-day amnesty period to militants to surrender and vowed to help them reintegrate into society. The group dismissed the declaration of war and rejected the offer of amnesty. "Fighting corruption in post-conflict contexts is particularly challenging and Somalia needs all the support it can get’.

Cite This Article As: Ismail Hassan Mohamed. "Why Is Somalia the Most Corrupted Country in the World?." International Youth Journal, 17. February 2019.

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