The 15 countries with the worst reputation in the world

Matthew Nitch Smith
Tuesday 16 January 2018 09:40

The 15 countries with the worst reputation in the world have been announced by the Reputation Insitute in its annual RepTrak index.

Rankings are based on a number of key drivers, including tolerance, safety, standard of living and attractiveness to tourists. The overall marks are given out of 100.

The list is dominated by African and Middle Eastern countries, though Europe and South America also make appearances.

Common themes in the rankings are intolerance, religious extremism, and poor foreign relations.

Keep scrolling to see the 15 countries with the worst reputations in the world:

15. Egypt


Egypt is the most populated country in North Africa and one of the most politically fraught, with liberals and Muslim Brotherhood voters alike opposed to the current government. This has given Egypt an dangerous reputation, and tourists have been warned to stay away.

14. Romania

Romania has been a member of the EU since 2007, but with the chance for free movement there has been something of an exodus from the country. Over two million people estimated to have moved to other parts of Europe since then which, unfairly or not, hasn't helped its reputation.

13. China

Though there's no doubting China's economic strength and the value of its export industry, its reputation on human rights and high standards of living for every citizen has yet to catch up.

12. Turkey

President Erdogan praised Donald Trump's actions, saying he treats media critics in the same way

President Erdogan recently survived an attempted military coup, but it looks like the country's civil liberties have suffered as thousands of academics, journalists and public sector workers were immediately arrested in the aftermath. There is also talk of bringing the death penalty back.

11. Colombia

Colombia is a beautiful country, but drug-related crime is still crippling its reputation. The nation is one of the world's biggest producers and exporters of cocaine, and the government has to send patrols all over the jungle to hunt for illegal makeshift factories.

10. Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan was the last Soviet republic to become independent in 1991, and its oil reserves have made it a fast-growing economy. But its relatively desolate landscape means it's not high on most tourist's wish-list.

9. Nicaragua

(AFP/Getty Images

Nicaragua's active volcanoes make it popular with adventurous travellers, but this central American country still falls short in the progressive department: abortions are illegal without exception. Droughts also plague Nicaragua which is a problem for tourism.

8. Angola

Angola has one of the fastest growing economies in the world thanks to vast mineral supplies, but poverty and political corruption still run rife in the aftermath of a decades-long civil war, and extreme droughts put many off visiting.

7. Algeria

Another North African nation ravaged by civil war, today Algeria suffers from a lack of political transparency: the government of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika is routinely criticised for media censorship and intimidating behaviour towards opponents.

6. Russia

A nation that needs no introduction, Russia has considerable homophobia issues which some say are encouraged by the government. Putin's foreign policy, particularly concerning Syria, also makes people wary and harms the country's reputation.

5. Nigeria

Nigeria is the largest economy in Africa thanks to rich reserves of oil, but religious tolerance in the country leaves a lot to be desired and has led to the rise of the terrorist group Boko Haram. Nigeria's reputation was further harmed by an Ebola outbreak.

4. Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is one of the world's biggest suppliers of oil but that wealth is highly concentrated to Saudi royal family, who are the face of the country for most outsiders. Gender rights there still have a long way to go too, with women still not allowed to drive, though they have at least been able to vote since 2015.

3. Pakistan

The Malala initiative has been launched alongside the documentary film He Named Me Malala

Sadly Pakistan is seen by many as a hotbed for religious extremism, and this has affected tourism accordingly. Although there is burgeoning feminist movement lead by the likes of Malala Yousafzai, women still endure subordination for the time being.

2. Iran

Iran was a comparatively liberal place in the 1970s, but after the Islamic Revolution its reputation diminished as a more authoritarian government took power, civil unrest became the norm, and relations with the US and Israel collapsed. The 2013 election of President Hassan Rouhani, a moderate, may help build bridges.

1. Iraq

Perhaps unsurprisingly, one of the most high-profile war zones of the last 20 years is also the country with the worst reputation. The US and UK-led Iraq War began in 2003 and is still technically ongoing. Bagdad endures suicide bombings almost daily and religious insurgencies seem to have no end in sight. Do not book a holiday here anytime soon.

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