- Outranks Rwanda in anti-corruption policy but earns lower scores for policy application and anti-corruption investigation
- Botswana, Rwanda and Seychelles are among good governance performers in sub-Saharan Africa and perform better than some advanced countries in some cases
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has punched holes in the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime’s (DCEC) efforts of combating corruption.
This emerges in a recently published report by experts at the IMF titled “Good Governance in Sub-Saharan Africa: Opportunities and Lessons.” A chapter of the report titled “Three Governance Performers in Sub-Saharan Africa: Achievements and Way Forward” discusses Botswana, Rwanda and Seychelles and questions the autonomy of DCEC.
While the IMF experts say even though Botswana is particularly well noted for DCEC as an institution established to combat economic crime through investigation, corruption-prevention and public education, they express concern that “Botswana’s DCEC’s perceived lack of independence from the government may hamper its effectiveness, including addressing high-level corruption”.
Pointedly, the IMF experts state that the DCEC is part of “the President and reports directly to the President.” They note that Botswana also adopted the Whistle Blowing Act in 2016 and that the government established a special court to expedite corruption cases. “However,” they observe, “the application of these laws is relatively challenging, according to the Ibrahim Index of African Governance (2020). This index is a composite indicator based on experts’ “survey of different aspects forming subcategories of the index”.
The IMF experts note that Botswana outranks Rwanda in terms of its anti-corruption policy but earns lower scores on policy application and anti-corruption investigations. “Moreover, Botswana has yet to enact laws on the declaration of assets and liabilities and on political party financing,” they write. “In Botswana and Seychelles, the bodies investigating cases of public sector corruption are independent by law, which has earned them higher recognition on that aspect of corruption control.”
According to the IMF report, Rwanda is rated as being relatively more effective at investigating corruption due to its well-functioning mechanisms, including online, by which the Office of the Ombudsman can receive citizens’ complaints. “In contrast, the online mechanism in Botswana is reported to be outdated and not anonymous,” the report says.
Touching on a related issue, the report says the three countries perform differently on internal control environment indicators, with particular vulnerabilities on implementing audit processes and relatively low effectiveness of expenditure commitments for Botswana and Seychelles. It says Rwanda is relatively well positioned compared to the emerging market median for financial data integrity (which encompasses financial data integrity processes), internal audit, payroll control, and internal control on non-salary outlays.
“However, Botswana needs to catch up to the emerging market median along all these dimensions,” the experts say. “Its score on financial data integrity is particularly dragged down by relatively low scores on accounts reconciliation, while its financial data integrity processes are relatively better rated.” According to the report, Botswana’s implementation of its internal audit processes seems to be a particular vulnerability while its coverage of internal audit earns a top score. “Internal controls over payroll and nonwage outlays are also reported to be relatively weak,” it says.
The IMF experts say a handful of countries have emerged among top governance performers in sub-Saharan Africa while also achieving relatively strong economic growth. Botswana, Rwanda and Seychelles are among such performers. In particular, all three countries are not only relatively strong performers in sub-Saharan Africa but they even perform better than some advanced countries in some cases. The report says the three countries fared relatively well in at least one other area critical for good governance – revenue administration. It says progress is ongoing in digitalisation of revenue administration, notably in Rwanda and Seychelles.
The report says processing of tax arrears outperformed the median emerging market country for Botswana and Seychelles while Rwanda is implementing a work programme featuring more efficient practices, such as detecting non-compliance using macroeconomic data and implementing a risk differentiation framework to focus on priority areas for reducing the outstanding stock of tax arrears.