Rwanda has become the first African country to establish an electronic government procurement system (e-GP). This e-GP system has several benefits such as improving transparency and efficiency and reducing corruption. Officials from the government traveled to Korea to study how the Korean electronic procurement system worked. This followed the passing of the 2007 procurement law. A feasibility study was done conducted with the help o the world bank to implement the system. Rwanda decided to name the system UMUCYO which means transparency in the local language. The government rolled out UMUCYO nationwide in July 2017. Currently, the only government institutions not sing UMUCYO are schools, district hospitals, and health centers. It is planned to be extended to them in 2019/2020.
What is UMUCYO
UMUCYO facilitates the interactions of government to business services (G2B) through automation of the public procurement process. The online system enables the government to buy goods and services. This, in turn, aids the government to deliver efficient public procurement through standardization of electronic documents, supplier registration, goods and services information.
UMUCYO is a one-stop-shop for Rwandan procuring entities that enable them to negotiate improved contract terms as well as monetary and quality benefits.
Furthermore, less marketing efforts are required from suppliers because of increased access to markets provided by the platform. Similarly, the system ensures order accuracy as well as efficient quotation mechanisms.
Benefits of UMUCYO
The system has saved time and reduced costs for both public officials and contractors because the need for in-person visits as well as printing costs has been eliminated by the system.
Moreover, procurement management by government institutions have been greatly improved. Additionally, corruption and fraud have been drastically reduced as there is no in-person contact with bidders. Similarly, complaints are lodged and responded to via the E-procurement system handling it in a transparent manner.
In a nutshell, as described by the director-general of Rwanda public procurement authority, UMUCYO saves transaction time and at the same time enabling transparency, competition, fairness and providing value for money.
e-procurement to fight corruption in other Africa countries
Corruption has continue to plague almost all African countries. The corruption plague is even more prominent in government institutions especially in the area of procurement. The majority of government funds are embezzled in shady procurement deals.
If other African countries adopt an E-procurement system, corruption will be drastically reduced within a few short years. This is because it enables transparency in deals as well as resolving complaints. It will also enable competition and consequently enable quality work to be done. E-procurement is the most sustainable way of fighting corruption in Africa in the long-term.
Rwanda the “Wakanda” of Africa
Rwanda is currently serving as a model on how a country should be efficiently run. The government is pro-technology and innovation. This is made possible by providing a conducive environment for doing business. It is now easier to start and run a business in Rwanda than in most developed nations.
As a result of these reforms, tech start-ups, world-class universities and industries are locating to the country. Even though the country is land-locked, it recently inaugurated a dry-port to serve as a transport port hub in central Africa.
Rwanda is leading and showing the way for other African countries. The question is are other African countries ready to learn from Rwanda?
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