A global report on graft released on Thursday last week by anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International has ranked Rwanda the 4th least corrupt country in Africa and among top fifty 'clean' countries in the world.
Ranked 49th globally, the country also maintained its top position as the least corrupt in the in the five-member East African Community. Burundi posted the worst ranking in east African, at number 172, Kenya at 154, Uganda at 143 and Tanzania at 100th place out of the 183 surveyed countries for the 2011 corruption perception index.
The index, an aggregate indicator measuring perceived levels of public sector corruption, is drawn on assessments and opinion surveys with questions related to bribery of public officials, kickbacks in public procurement, embezzlement of public funds, and the effectiveness of public sector anti-corruption efforts.
This 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) released in Germany, saw Rwanda join Botswana, Cape Verde and Mauritius as the four least corrupt countries on the continent.
The 2011 CPI also gave Rwanda a score of 5.1 points, ahead of countries like South Africa and beating its East African neighbors by a large margin
The CPI ranks countries and territories from zero (highly corrupt) to ten (very clean) based on perceived levels of public sector corruption. It uses data from 17 surveys that look at factors such as enforcement of anti-corruption laws, access to information and conflicts of interests.
Speaking at a news conference to present the report locally, Marie Immaculée Ingabire, the chairperson of Transparency Rwanda (TR), said that the improvement in the ranking is a sign of commitment from both the government and the citizens to fight graft.
"This very positive result is recognition of all efforts that the country has made in the recent past to curb corruption. We commend the government for its determination and all the ordinary citizens who through their behaviors made this result possible," Ingabire said.
Apollinaire Mupiganyi, the executive secretary of Transparency Rwanda, said that the current ranking showed that the efforts to curb corruption have paid off, and is an encouragement to continue the fight.
"Rwanda has registered great progress over the past few years compared to its neighbors in the EAC. There has been an evolution in Rwanda's ranking between 2007 and 2011," Mupiganyi said.
Rwanda's score steadily moved from 2.8 in 2007, 3 in 2008, 3.3 in 2009 to 4 in 2010 and now 5 in 2011. No other east African country has managed such a performance.
"The 2011 CPI shows that public frustration is well founded. No region or country in the world is immune to the damages of corruption, the vast majority of the 183 countries and territories assessed score below five on a scale of 0 to 10. New Zealand, Denmark and Finland top the list, while North Korea and Somalia are at the bottom," reads the report
In October this year, East African Bribery Index (EABI), championed by Transparency Kenya (TK), also ranked Rwanda as least corrupt country in east Africa, for the second year running.
In October's report, Rwanda recorded a bribery prevalence of 5.1 posting an improvement from 6.6% last year and Burundi recorded the highest prevalence of corruption at 37.9%.
Kenya moved from third place to second recording 31.9 percent while Uganda was put at 33.9 up from 33 percent with Tanzania placed at 31.6 from 28.6 percent registered last year.
Most analysts have attributed Rwanda's good corruption performance ratings to the zero tolerance approach with which corruption tendencies are dealt with and President Paul Kagame's transparent leadership and governance record.
Coming just weeks after another favorable ranking by the world bank, placing Rwanda as the 8th most favorable country to do business in Africa, this new corruption index is tipped to increase investor confidence and attract more funding for several government projects from neighbors who are losing their grants due to corruption.
Already, poor accountability and massive corruption has seen Uganda lose grants from Global Fund to fight HIV/Aids, malaria and tuberculosis putting the lives of 300,000 people, who currently receive ARVs, on the line.