afrol News, 29 October - Chantal Uwimana, the Africa Director of Transparency International, explains afrol News why the corruption situation Rwanda is strongly improving, while Burkina Faso seemingly is loosing the fight against corruption.
Two African countries stand out in this year's Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), released this week by Transparency International (TI). Rwanda is moving rapidly upwards, signalling government success in fighting corruption, while Burkina Faso is the African country not affected by conflict moving fastest downwards on the TI Index.
Last year, Rwandan stakeholders interviewed by TI were far more negative about corruption in their country than Burkinabe citizens. Burkina Faso was number 79 on the index, Rwanda was number 89. This year, the opposite is true, with Rwandan moving up to number 68 and Burkina Faso down to number 98. On an African scale, Rwanda this year even climbs to 8th position.
According to Ms Uwimana, TI's Regional Director for Africa, Rwandan authorities - up to President Paul Kagame - are taking the anti-corruption fight totally in serious. It is priority number one, so the country's fast advance on the TI Index came as no surprise to her.
"Rwanda has developed and is implementing a comprehensive strategy to fight corruption. Both government, civil society, development partners, private sector committed to clear roles and responsibilities," Ms Uwimana explains the Rwanda success.
This had made the fight against corruption "a shared responsibility and each stakeholder is aware of what others are doing," she told afrol News. "There is a good coordination of anti corruption initiatives," Ms Uwimana adds.
Asked what government in Rwanda is "doing right" in its fight against corruption, the TI director sums up that there is "a strong political will to fight corruption at the level of the President, which is translated in actions by the government: promotion of transparency and accountability at all level, possibility for the public to provide feedback through various mechanisms is a strong encouragement for the participation of citizens."
Burkina Faso failure
Presented with afrol News' bleak picture of the anti-corruption fight in Burkina Faso, Ms Uwimana however disagrees with the meaningfulness of TI's own index when it comes to year-to-year changes.
"Please note that changes in the CPI score can be attributed to technical issues such as new sources being included," the TI director tells afrol News. "Thus for Burkina Faso, it is not completely correct to state that 'Burkina Faso is moving fast downwards'," she emphasises. Indeed, Burkina Faso had had a lower score when the country first entered the Index in 2000, than this year.
The main reasons for Burkina Faso's low score on the Index this year, according to Ms Uwimana, could be that the country "has a low score with regards to government's capacity to punish and contain corruption. The country could make an effort in making public efforts made - if any - to prosecute corrupt officials."
But, the regional director again points out, it was important to note that the CPI was "an index calculating a changing set of source surveys. The CPI is therefore not the appropriate tool for comparisons over time. It cannot be used for accurate trend analysis."
Nevertheless, Ms Uwimana agrees that, compared to Rwanda, there is much the Burkinabe government could do to improve the situation with regard to the fight against corruption.
She in particular urges Burkina Faso to "develop, in a participatory manner, a comprehensive strategy against corruption," and "demonstrate at the highest political and administrative level a strong commitment to fighting corruption." Burkinabe President Blaise Compaoré was advised to "launch a nation wide campaign to 'educate' the citizens their roles and responsibilities in the fight against corruption."
Government should further promote transparency in public contracting and demonstrate a strong commitment to prosecute corrupt public officials "even when they occupy high level position," Ms Uwimana says. But, she adds, "it is always important to ensure transparency in government led initiatives to fight corruption."
Following these advises, Burkina Faso would make major gains in its fight against corruption, also improving its standing on the TI Index. And while the index may not be meaningful "for accurate trend analysis," many potential investors read the CPI in just this way, which can be decisive in a decision to invest in Burkina Faso or not.
Rwanda, on the other hand, rapidly is attracting more foreign investments, which to some degree can be attributed President Kagame's high-profiled efforts to fight corruption.
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