The East African Community has been advised to ensure political will and borrow a leaf from Rwanda to succeed in corruption fight.
Experts made the remarks shortly after the release of the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2015, yesterday, in Kigali.
Gemma Aiolfi, the head of collective governance, compliance and collective action at Swiss-based Basel Institute of Governance, said good will by governments could improve corruption state in the East African region and the continent.
The CPI, released by Transparency International (TI), indicates that Rwanda is the fourth least corrupt country in Africa and 44th globally.
In sub-Saharan Africa, Botswana claimed the top spot followed by Cape Verde, Seychelles, Rwanda, then Mauritius and Namibia.
In the East African Community, Tanzania in the 117th position globally follows Rwanda, and then Kenya (139), Uganda (139) and Burundi (150), respectively.
The report shows an improvement in Rwanda’s percentage score from 49 to 54 per cent.
The CPI, which covers 168 countries around the world, tackles public perceptions for corruption in the public sector.
At a global level, Denmark emerged the least corrupt nation for the second year running, followed by Finland, Sweden, New Zealand, Netherlands and Norway, respectively.
“This is a good trend for Rwanda but there is more work to be done. No country is free of corruption and all countries have to stay vigilant. There is a need to improve the collaboration and seamless flow of business between public and private sector to close the corruption leakages,” said Aiolfi.
“Rwanda should explain good practices they have as a country and stress what is working here to contain corruption. And regional member states should be willing to listen and put in practice those good practices.”
While releasing the CPI report in Kigali, Apollinaire Mupiganyi, the executive director of Transparency International Rwanda, said regional chapters have had joint trainings aimed at sharing good practices and ideas on how to fight corruption.
However, he admitted that fighting corruption takes more than just ‘written documents’ in terms of legal frameworks and policies to change in mindset and integrity.
“Perception on corruption takes time; it requires change in mindset. But we are in a region that is ranked highly corrupt, so we need to work together to improve corruption index in the region especially,” Mupiganyi said.
Sources for corruption perception index include African Development Bank, World Economic Forum, Global Insight Country risk ratings, Bertelsmann Transformation Index, among others.
Call for more efforts
At the release of the report, Clément Musangabatware, the deputy ombudsman in charge of preventing and fighting corruption, said the vice remains the most daunting challenge to good governance, sustainable economic growth, peace, stability and development in Africa.
“Corruption stops economic growth by discouraging foreign investments, creates distortion in resource allocation and competitive markets, increases the cost of doing business, and reduces the net-value of public spending,” said Musangabatware.
Last year, African Development Bank indicated that Africa loses $148 billion every year in corruption-related tendencies.
“Effectively addressing corruption requires a holistic, innovative, inclusive and strategic approach mainly education, prevention, enforcement of the laws, higher integrity, collaboration as well as recovery of stolen assets,” Musangabatware added.
Marie-Immaculée Ingabire, the chairperson of Transparency International Rwanda, said Rwanda could do better in combating corruption if the government fought the perceived corruption in public sector, especially during contract negotiation for public investments and procurement.