Ten Of The Least Corrupt Countries In The World

Ten Of The Least Corrupt Countries In The  World

“I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.” Mahatma Gandhi

Corruption is one of the biggest problems in the world. The threat of corruption is always prevalent. Here is the list of the 10 least corrupt countries in the world in order as published by Transparency International.

Denmark almost always ranks first as the country least prone to corruption. Is it that the Danes have a higher moral fiber than other people? Is it something in their genes? Perhaps it is that the Danes have a high degree of trust in other people and in the system. Fair working conditions, social security, health arrangements, decent salaries and pension schemes are among the things that contribute to giving the Danes reasonable living conditions. Anti corruptions strategy is part of the corporate business structure. They aren’t immune to bribery but they have a tradition of  high ethical and moral views of the world.

New Zealand is not categorized by political corruption scandals.   No country has a perfect score and New Zealand has slipped down from first place over the last few years. New Zealand’s reputation for honesty, transparency and justice is a great advantage in conducting international trade and other dealings. It is still the least corrupt country in Asia-Pacific.

Corruption is very low in Finland. Finland consistently ranks in the top four of the Corruption Perception Index. There is a strong anti corruption commitment from their government. The country’s focus on human rights issues and literacy have a high correlation to lower rates of corruption.

Sweden ranks fourth in the World Corruptions Perception Index.  Government agencies have a high degree of transparency, integrity and accountability. The legal system is effective in fighting corruption issues that arise.  According to Forbes magazine it is the best country in the world to do business with. The low-level of corruption is one of the reasons.

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Norway falls behind Sweden and Denmark in corruption but all the Scandinavian countries still rate as the least corrupt countries in the world. Business is conducted with a high level of transparency. Administration corruption and petty bribery are almost non-existent. Bribery, fraud, extortion and money laundering carry a penalty of up to ten years imprisonment. Anti-corruption laws are strongly enforced.

Switzerland has very strong anti-bribery enforcement activities and controls of corruption. The Swiss economy is one of the most competitive and innovative in the world. One of the reasons is because they have a sound regulatory environment.

Singapore has consistently placed well ahead of the other Asian countries in terms of corruption. Singaporeans expect and demand a clean system, and will not give or accept bribery to get things done, unlike in other countries.  The city-state does have an aggressive Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau; professional courts and a ruthless, relentless emphasis on efficiency and results.There’s an old saying in Asia that the real money is in government. Not the paychecks, but the kickbacks. Singapore  pays its government well so that does not happen.

The Netherlands is always in the top ten. When economic freedom exists, it comes with  very little corruption.  The country has established strong pillars—an independent judiciary, effective anti-corruption mechanisms and a culture of trust—that all combine to create a society where corruption is not considered a serious problem.

Corruption does not constitute a problem for businesses in Luxembourg. The country has a strong legal framework to curb corruption, and anti-corruption laws are effectively enforced. It is not perfect but still better than most of the world.

Canada ranks tenth  this year and is still one of the least corrupt countries. It is the least corrupt country in the Americas which includes the United States. It does not mean that there is no corruption, only less than other countries.

Fly safe,

JAZ

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Ten Of The Most Corrupt Countries In The World

Ten Of The Most Corrupt Countries In The World

“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. “Friedrich Nietzsche  

Transparency International, an anticorruption agency monitors the relationship between politics and money around the world. Measuring corruption is difficult and subjective, but  the group compiled a Corruption Perceptions Index. The lowest ranked nations were all plagued by “conflict and war, poor governance, weak public institutions like police and the judiciary and a lack of independence in the media.”

Fair  and just government rule is an important  step in pulling a country out of the cycle of poverty. When the government is corrupt, natural resources are destroyed. The death toll rises when people have to bribe for inadequate health care,clean water or food.  The first step to putting an end to poverty is putting an end to government corruption.

Unfortunately, there are way more than ten countries – many being in Africa. I compiled the ten from a few different lists. 

1.Somalia in Eastern Africa heads almost all the lists as the world’s most corrupt country. It has been there for the last ten years. Corruption in Somalia takes the form of mass murder.  Three decades of war and droughts forced half of the population to be dependent on foreign food aid shipments which are controlled by the local warlords. Desperation turns ordinary citizens into pirates on the many Somalian pirate ships to feed their families. Bribery, voter intimidation and no way of keeping track of the number of voters, makes change in government difficult.

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2. Corruption in North Korea is a widespread and  a growing problem. It is hard to get the facts because it is the most totalitarian Communist regime left in the world.  North Koreans assume that any official in a position to take bribes will. Corruption is part of the fabric of daily life. Strict rules and serious punishments imposed by the regime, for example, against accessing foreign media  are commonly evaded by offering bribes to the police.

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3. Afghanistan is always in the top four as one of the most corrupt countries. The casual disregard of legality is noticeable. Most of the money from international aid never filters down to the people who need it. There is no punishment for corruption.  The interior minister was also made a drug czar which was too much for the international community to handle. Britain pulled their funding. Drug trafficking and vote rigging  are  very visible.

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4. Sudan is one of the worst nation’s in the world for human rights violations. Corruption exists in every section of the economy and every level of government. There is no freedom of the media so it is hard for the average person to get any information. Bribery is necessary for any  public services and in dealing with police. The UN is ineffective  in this country because of government intervention.

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5. Corruption is at the root of the power struggle in South Sudan causing the continued violence. Government officials have built personal fortunes while their country suffers and starves. Both sides have been blamed for mass rape, massacres, denial of aid, sexual slavery, burning of food supplies and villages, killing civilians and the use of child soldiers.  Both sides, have been looting the country’s natural resources and using international aid to fund their militias to fight each other.  There is no accountability for the atrocities and looting of state resources, or for the famine that has resulted.South Sudan is the world’s newest country (2011) and the hope they had five years ago is dwindling.

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6. Angola is a country rich in diamonds, oil and serious corruption. The president is a billionaire. Government workers are rich. Villagers live without health care, education and adequate food. Angola has the  highest child mortality rate in the world which is mostly preventable.   Corruption kills. The US and western oIl companies have a great relationship with Angola. If we do not condemn it, then we have a part in it.

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7. Not much has changed since the revolution in Libya in terms of corruption and financial mismanagement. The systemic corruption is not limited to a few institutions but becoming normal in people’s lives. The bribe culture still flourishes. The oil based economy is a huge source of corruption with  very little filtering down to the people who need it.

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8.In post war Iraq a corrupt political class has pillaged the country’s money, forcing corruption at every level. The senior political leaders have taken most of it. Organized corruption syndicates run the country and militia. Plunging oil prices and the War against the Islamic State are putting Iraq’s dwindling finances in major jeopardy. Corruption exists because it is allowed to exist. Having being governed by a dictator for so long, the people don’t understand self governance.

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9. The Myanmar government has acknowledged the problem of widespread corruption. it will take time to have an impact on all the private sector and government corruption. Land ownership and the jade business are still run by military.  Multiple exchange rates and corruption are serious barriers to trade and investment in Myanmar. Nepotism, personal connections and bribery are more important than qualifications.  Myanmar is one of four major producers for opium and heroin. Money intended to help the  public is more often used for personal gain.

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10. Corruption seems to go hand and hand with human rights violations and Venezuela is no exception. Government funds meant to serve the people are mismanaged, stolen or spent. Medicine and food meant for the poor are sold to other countries.Venezuela is an oil rich country and the fact that so many live in poverty without government aid is shameful. There is so much corruption and mismanagement from the government to the private sector that food and medicine are rotting in warehouses instead of being distributed. Journalists who try to report anything are jailed.

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Other very highly corrupt countries are Haiti, Guinea Bissau,  Eritrea. Syria, Turkmenistan, Yemen, Uzbekistan,Burundi, Cambodia, Zimbabwe,Chad and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Fly safe,

JAZ

Ten Of The Poorest Countries In The World

Ten Of The  Poorest Countries In The World

“Once poverty is gone, we’ll need to build museums to display its horrors to future generations. They’ll wonder why poverty continued so long in human society – how a few people could live in luxury while billions dwelt in misery, deprivation and despair.” Muhammad Yunus

This is a hard one for me. Why have we always spent so much money on defense and war? I have never understood it. I believe for much less money than we have spent in my lifetime we could have provided clean water, adequate diets, sanitation services and basic education for human beings in the world. It is possible that would have solved both the refugee problem and the terrorist problem.

Decade after decade, politicians and international organizations have failed to tackle poverty in Africa. Nor have they been able to help generate growth or build basic infrastructure.  Some countries here struggle more than others. The cycle of poverty in Africa will unfortunately  continue without the help of the international community.

The Central African Republic is the poorest country in Africa and the world. They have been badly governed since they received their independence from France in 1960. It is plagued by fighting, coups and rebellions. Political instability has prevented the country’s development, despite an abundance of timber, gold, uranium and diamonds. More than fifty percent of the population is below the age of fourteen. Children that manage to avoid becoming internally displaced persons or child soldiers often never enter the educational system. There are terrible health conditions and an alarming food crisis. Violence has displaced 1.2 million people and most of the country is in urgent need of humanitarian assistance and  clean water.

There are two Congos. There is the Democratic Republic Of Congo and the Republic of Congo. The  DRC received their independence from Belgium and  The Republic of Congo received their independence from France in 1960. The DRC is neither Democratic nor a Republic. The extremely corrupt government rules over one of the poorest countries that is also one of the richest in natural resources.The world’s bloodiest conflict since WWll – The Great War of Africa has been fought almost entirely in DRC with over five million deaths. Kinshasa is one of the most dangerous cities in the world. The DRC is a country of human suffering on an unimaginable scale.

Burundi is considered the hungriest nation on earth. The unstable political situation continues to make things worse. Like much of Central Africa, Burundi is prone to natural disasters such as floods, hailstorms, drought and torrential rain which has contributed to the displacement of communities, the destruction of homes, the disruption of livelihoods and the further deterioration of food security. Burundi needs social and economic change and political institutions that are genuinely accountable to its people.

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Two civil wars in the last 30 years have decimated Liberia‘s infrastructure and led to widespread poverty.  The civil wars have left the country with inadequate roads, water and other basic infrastructure which has proved to be a significant barrier for economic growth.The wars also contributed to the over 250,000 Liberian orphans who frequently suffer from malnutrition and are sometimes completely abandoned. The lack of health care access often leads to high fatality rates. As far as education goes, only half of the Liberians are literate, and many Liberian children are kept out of school in order to help on their families’ farms. The good thing about Liberia is that it has the landscape, resources  and a new stable government available to make it a prosperous country.

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Life just gets tougher in NIger. Niger is more impoverished today than it was thirty years ago. Hunger is the biggest problem. High birth rates make it harder and harder to feed families.  Half the deaths of children under five are from malaria. Less than half the population has access to clean drinking water causing  typhoid and cholera. Any small crisis creates a humanitarian disaster. They need an international commitment to help develop the country and get it out of poverty.

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Poverty in Malawi is at a critical level. It is one of the  most impoverished nations in the world. Malawi was one of the worst hit countries by HIV AIds. There are over a million orphans due to Aids. As with other countries, lack of education, droughts, sanitation and corruption impede economic progress.

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Despite its  economic growth rates and the encouraging development progress made by the government in recent years, poverty continues to be severe and widespread in Mozambique. It ranks among the lowest in human development, life expectancy, and inequality. Rates of Malaria and tuberculosis are very high in Mozambique. Lack of improved water sources is a major issue for both urban and rural populations. More than half of Mozambicans must walk more than an hour to reach the nearest health facility. The potential is certainly there for Mozambique to capitalize on its many resources, but foreign assistance  may be the key to ensuring  Mozambicans are able to help themselves.

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Despite its rich natural resources,including diamonds and gold,  Guinea remains underdeveloped. Poverty and malnutrition have an enormous impact on children and young people in the West African country, where more than half the population is under eighteen years of age. Although Guinea has abolished school fees, learning materials  still cost money and many teachers are poorly trained. Children are dropping out of school and either looking for work in the streets or falling victims of child trafficking. As a peaceful country, it has become home to neighboring refugees increasing the poverty level.

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Eritrea is one of the youngest independent countries in the world, but it is also one of the poorest.  It won its independence from Ethiopia after thirty years of war  in 1993. It has become one of the world’s fastest emptying nations, Droughts, conflict, malnutrition and disease  is  overseen by a corrupt dictatorship that has been accused of many human rights violations. Attention is focused on the Syrian refugees but far more Eritreans are fleeing. Perhaps that is why it has been included in Donald Trump’s Muslim ban.

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Madagascar’s poverty is due to political corruption, economic colonialism, lack of infrastructure, poor education system and environmental degradation. There are severe food shortages causing serious starvation and  acute malnutrition. Almost half of  the children under five suffer chronic malnutrition, the fourth highest rate in the world.  Severe water safety and sanitation are huge problems.  Madagascar is an island. There is no terrorism. There are no geopolitical interests.There is a need for an urgent priority list but Madagascar will probably never attract the necessary donor aid from the global community.

Fly safe and I did not take these photos.,

JAZ

Watching TV Journalists On Election Night In The USA

Watching TV Journalists On Election Night in The USA

“Accepting that life is insane, that bad things happen to good people and that you can find the courage to be grateful for the good in every situation and still move forward is hard (even terrifying), but heroic.” Richie Norton

They were expecting the first female president. After eighteen months of constant TV coverage, it was almost going to be over. As the results became clear, a sort of shocked, glazed expression came over the newscasters’ faces. All the polls were wrong. The nation was much more divided than people thought and the journalists missed that point. It appeared that the media was unaware of how unhappy and afraid many people in this country were.  As the night wore on, it seemed that they had never entertained the possibility that the Republican nominee could win. Therefore, many of us who watched, read and listened to them for eighteen months, were unprepared as well.

The media had a clear anti-Trump stance. For the first time, I knew who the media would be voting for. The coverage of the fighting, name calling, birth places, taxes and emails had overshadowed what turned out to be the main issue of the campaign for the voters.   Change or more of the same?

The 2016 election has exposed the desperate need for political reform in this country. I found myself stuck with two dismal choices. There were many rational reasons not to vote for Hillary Clinton – staggering health costs due to Obama care, corruption, economic insecurity, and pro war views. I had more reasons not to vote for Trump.

 Trump voters were not all crazy racists haters. They were loyal, no matter how inarticulately they said it. They were also people who wanted change. They wanted to change the power structure in the Democratic and Republican parties.They didn’t care what the media was saying.

There is a reality here. In their eyes, the educated, elite, traditional politicians were unable to give economic security, avoid terrorist acts, find a health care program that works for everyone or stop Isis. The time was ripe for an outsider to come in with passion and force as it has happened throughout world history. The media in their elite complacency missed that.

I am a Democrat. I’m a little fearful of what is to come. But a President’s to do list doesn’t always match up with what gets done. We don’t know whether the worst will come or not,  but we do know that this election brought out the worst in people. We need to find a way to remember the principles of this country and the Constitution.  At this moment in time, it is best to support the process and call on our highest instincts to unite us. 

Fly safe,

JAZ

Vomit Down And Other Things I Have Learned From Traveling

Vomit Down And Other Things I Have Learned From Traveling

“I had an inheritance from my father, It was the moon and the sun. And though I roam all over the world, The spending of it’s never done,” Ernest Hemingway

Friends and traveling companions will appear along the way when you are traveling alone. With the magic of fb and instagram you will always know what they are having for lunch. (Japan)

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Scan your credit cards and IDs and send them to yourself. They will be easy to replace when lost.

You will sometimes run into travelers who will give their country a bad name . If it is one that you have not been to before, know that there are always others who will restore your faith in that country. (Turkey)

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There are a lot of McDonald’s in the world. If you are in a McDonalds country they are probably not fighting a war. there is a correlation between peace and the golden arches. (Russia)

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Traveling helps you find out what you are capable of. Whether it is flying on a tiny plane, going in a squat toilet that looks like it hasn’t been cleaned in…..ever, eating fried bugs, picking coffee beans with the branches smacking every part of your body or eating in a restaurant alone. (Mexico “chapulinas”  fried crickets)

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I am shocked at the level of corruption in most developing countries. Even if it is technically a democracy, most nations are run by and for the benefit of those who control the institutions of power. Political killings, bribery, extortion and kickbacks are the norm in many countries.

Pack as light as you can. I am a work in progress.. (Finland)

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It is the twenty-first century and most people in the world are living in it. You can visit a tribe in the jungle or mountains to have an “authentic” experience. But cultures have always changed as new ideas, religions, technologies sprang up and different cultures mingled and traded with each other. Today is no different. (Panama Embera tribe)

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When on a boat in rough water, vomit down. (Tasmania, Australia)

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People of the world do not seem to hate Americans – even in countries where you think they might. They may hate our government and our politics but they are as curious about Americans as I am about them. (Myanmar)

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When they tell you not to drink the water in a country – don’t do it. This includes ice, and washing fruits and vegetables. (Thailand)

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The hype of a destination can sometimes set you up for disappointment. Go anyway but I find it is the surprise places that I didn’t know too much about that I remember – except Machu Picchu – that lives up to the hype. (Peru Machu Picchu)

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Remember to call your bank and credit card companies before you leave.

Usually the American media portrays things as much worse than they are. The media makes us scared of the world and we shouldn’t be. Be cautious if you are going somewhere that is in the news but chances are that by the time you get there it will be over and they will still be reporting it. Always check the BBC they are much calmer. This has happened to me in Budapest, Bangkok, Myanmar, Colombia, Cuba and Cancun. So far it has been fine when I got there. (Cuba)

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Traveling with friends and family make amazing memories, traveling on a tour is safe and you learn a lot, but traveling alone is more eye-opening and you have adventures. (Viet Nam)

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It’s ok to be a tourist sometimes. There are some tourist attractions that you should see.(China, Great Wall)

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You can find the internet almost anywhere. I have watched them laying internet cables high in the mountains of Argentina. I have used it in Myanmar before they were supposed to actually have it. I have seen remote villagers holding their cell phones in the air for a signal. (Tibet- photo Helen Mackinnon)

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Most people you meet in the world have a  desire to travel. There are finances, fears and excuses but everyone I meet tells me unasked about a place they hope to visit one day. I think the wish to explore and see new things is fundamental to the human experience. (Colombia)

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Fly safe,

JAZ