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Exploiting technology to tackle graft [Sci-tech]

Exploiting technology to tackle graft [Sci-tech]

The Morning Call

Corruption affects, to varying degrees, all countries. This phenomenon is harmful, not only at the financial level, but also at the social level because it often conceals other violations of the law. Moreover, in the face of the various scandals that have erupted in recent years, corruption reduces citizens’ trust in organizations. There are citizens who have taken initiatives to fight this scourge and with new technologies, they know well that one does not have to be rich or powerful to fight corruption.

In Benin for example, a youth group set up an app to fight the scourge called Anticorr. The word is an abbreviation that fully means “anti-corruption”. It is a device that allows to denounce acts of corruption and will provide information on the state of this phenomenon in Benin.

The app works in four major steps to unmask the corruption: Geolocation, confirmation of the act of corruption, explanation or photo and a note of satisfaction.

Roland Alavo is one of the app builders and he explains: “Anticorr is an application that fights against corruption on three fronts.The first part is giving users information about the anti-corruption laws in Benin. Second is denunciation by providing users with a toll-free number to reach the anti-corruption authorities in Benin to submit their complaints. We receive each complaint and rank the top corrupt companies monthly.The ranking serves two purposes.The primary goal is to pressure these organisations to punish those responsible so that corruption incidents are minimized in Benin. Second is to trace the top corrupt organizations so that authorities can crack down.”

In neigbouring Nigeria a country that has been plagued for decades by endemic corruption, a similar innovation has been realised. Africa’s second biggest economy ranks poorly at 136th out of 176 on the global corruption index.

BudgIT,a Lagos-based organization, is exposing down bad practices. For the last three years, this young company has been developing an online collaborative tool, Tracka, which aims to make public expenditure information accessible to all and to allow the hunt for funded and yet abandoned projects. The interface is very simple and accessible. Each project listed on Tracka.ng is located on map.

For instance if in a school project is decided and financed by the government and nothing is happening on the site, it can bee identified on the map set up by Tracka . The objective is to measure concretely if the project is fictitious or not.

Fewer human interactions are needed in delivering public and private services to reduce corruption. Several countries are relying on technology by deploying communications infrastructure to promote the widespread use of electronic services, from online tax declarations to medical prescriptions.

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The Morning Call

The Morning Call is about you. We want to share your opinions on our programme. If you want to contribute to The Morning Call, here are the best ways to get in touch : For more details on how to contribute, click here.