There is a strong connection between political corruption and poverty, a global thinktank has claimed.
Transparency International's annual corruption perceptions index reveals a strong concentration of impoverished countries at the bottom of its ranking of 163 states.
Haiti, which was the first Caribbean nation to gain independence more than 200 years ago, was named as the world's most corrupt country, with high-ranking individuals accused of using their political influence to "launder, store and otherwise profit from unjustly acquired wealth".
The island's 8.5 million residents earn an average of just $450 (£237) per year.
Burma, Iraq and Guinea shared the penultimate place on Transparency International's index, which awards countries a corruption rating of between zero and ten - with zero being the lowest score possible - based on a collection of expert opinion surveys.
The organisations chair Huguette Labelle today said: "Corruption traps millions in poverty. Despite a decade of progress in establishing anti-corruption laws and regulations, today's results indicate that much remains to be done before we see meaningful improvements in the lives of the world's poorest citizens."
More than three-quarters of the index's countries received a rating of less than five, with 71 below three.
Developed western nations unsurprisingly top the anti-corruption index, with Finland, Iceland and New Zealand sharing the top spot.
Britain is ranked just outside of the top ten alongside Austria, while the US achieves a placing of 20 and eastern economic giants India and China share 70th place.
The US was named among a group of countries criticised for becoming less transparent since 2005 alongside Israel, Brazil and Cuba.
Transparency International's ten least corrupt countries
Finland Iceland New Zealand Denmark Singapore Sweden Switzerland Norway Australia Netherlands
Transparency International's ten most corrupt countries
Haiti Burma Iraq Guinea Sudan DR Congo Chad Bangladesh Uzbekistan Equatorial Guinea