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The tight against corruption : the rise of innovative technologies

Since the end of the 1994 genocide, Rwanda has been engaged in a fierce battle against corruption. Rwandan authorities have adopted innovative technological tools, such as the Irembo portal, to enhance transparency and efficiency in administrative services, thereby reducing opportunities for corruption.

By Aimable Twahirwa

At the time of Cécile Nyiraminani, a farmer from Ruhango, a southern district of the country, corruption was rampant at all administrative levels. « The entire system was corrupt because accessing certain administrative services required bribing the relevant officials, » recalls the woman in her fifties.

Since the cessation of the genocide by the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), Rwandan authorities have intensified their fight against corruption by adopting technological tools, which have become one of the pillars of this fight. Among these innovations, Irembo, the « portal, » offers a range of digital products allowing public institutions to provide administrative services and online payments, without the need for physical contact between the service provider and the beneficiary.

This widespread adoption of information and communication technologies (ICTs) now covers a broad reality in Rwanda and constitutes a powerful instrument in the fight against corruption. According to the Office of the Ombudsman of Rwanda, the use of ICTs in the delivery of certain administrative services has contributed to reducing administrative hurdles and advancing the country’s fight against corruption.

The latest report from Transparency International for the year 2023 reveals a significant advancement by Rwanda in the fight against corruption, citing notably the government’s ability to contain corruption in the public sector and reduce excessive administrative formalities.

Thanks to these advancements, preventing corruption among civil servants and other administrative officials has become a top priority for Rwanda, thus becoming a model for Africa in the fight against corruption, through the use of innovative technologies.

Madeleine Nirere, the Ombudsman of Rwanda, asserts that the promotion of innovative technologies in service delivery aims to limit physical contact between service providers and beneficiaries, thereby enhancing transparency and efficiency.

By reducing human interactions, especially in the land sector where corruption was prevalent, online services have reduced opportunities for corruption. Additionally, surveillance devices installed on public roads and in certain locations have enabled the Rwandan National Police to remotely penalize traffic violations.

Public administrative services can be more transparent and efficient thanks to the power of technology

Despite the positive impact of these technological innovations, Apollinaire Mupiganyi, Executive Secretary of Transparency Rwanda (TR), emphasizes that a fundamental change in mindset is necessary to completely eradicate endemic corruption.

With a score of 53/100 according to the Corruption Perception Index 2023 published by Transparency International, Rwanda has shown significant progress in the fight against corruption. The corruption index in Rwanda averaged 46.05 points from 2005 to 2023, reaching a historical high of 56.00 points in 2018 and a low of 25.00 points in 2006.

« Public administrative services can be more transparent and efficient thanks to the power of technology, » affirms Mupiganyi.

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