Rwanda is the first African country with an electronic government procurement system (e-GP) and it has improved transparency and reduced corruption.

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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It is easier to start and run a business in Rwanda than in France, Netherlands and Italy, according to the 2018 ease of doing business rankings

According to the 2018 ease of doing business report released by the world bank, Rwanda is now ranked 29 in the world out of 190 countries. This remarkable achievement means that Rwanda has a better business environment than several economic powerhouses including France, Spain, Netherlands, Japan and Switzerland. Rwanda is 2nd in the continent behind Mauritius. Rwanda improved its ranking from 41st last year to 29th this year.

The ease of doing business report

The ease of doing business report was pioneered by Simeon Djankov. Every year the world bank releases the report that measure the cost to companies of doing business in 190 countries. The report ranks countries after assessing several indicators such as analysis of costs, requirements and procedures private firms are subject to in all countries. Thus, it shows which countries and leaders are promoting business environment reforms. The report is an important knowledge source. Developing countries especially use the report as guideline in reforming their business environments.

How Rwanda achieved this position

Rwanda has improved its business regulatory environment and will very soon catch up with the global best regulatory practices. This outstanding feat was achieved through the various reforms implemented by the visionary leadership of President Paul Kagame. Firstly, the country implemented the highest number of reforms globally in 2017/2018 at seven. Secondly, the country has significantly improved its land dispute resolution mechanism. Consequently, the country ranks second globally for property registration.

Thirdly, the country’s reforms in access to credit placed it among the top ten worldwide when it comes to access to credit. Finally, the country introduced electronic online business registration. As a result, starting a business in the country is relatively easy. Similarly, the cost of starting a business has greatly reduced from 317 percent of GDP per capita in 2005 to below 15 percent in 2018.

President Kagame’s vision

President Kagame’s vision is to transform Rwanda into middle-income status by 2035 and high-income status by 2050. Since the 1994 genocide, Rwanda has achieved one of the fastest economic growth in the world at 7 percent per annum. As a result, several improvements have been observed in the country.

For instance, life expectancy increased from 31 to 69 years and less than 40 percent of the population are below the poverty line. Additionally, several social indicators especially the health sector has drastically improved. With hard work and improved strategies it is possible for the country to fast-tract the developmental goals and bring the dates forward.

Sub-Saharan African countries on the move

For the third consecutive year, sub-Saharan countries implemented the most reforms globally. In the past year the region implemented 107 reforms to improve the ease of doing business especially for small and medium enterprises. Malawi, Zambia, Nigeria and Djibouti were among the top ten list of countries with the most improvements across three or more indicators.

The region has done extremely well in improving the ease of doing business in the past three years. However, there are still significant regulatory challenges to overcome. Policy makers in African countries should continue implementing more reforms in order to place the region among the top globally in ease of doing business. Rwanda is proof that with the right leadership, African countries could be among the best globally in ease of doing business. Once this is achieved, millions of Africans will be lifted out of poverty.