Rwanda pilots digital aid transparency scheme

By on 07/10/2018
The new online platform should help aid reach the right places, like this school for the blind in Kibeho, Rwanda (Image courtesy: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland/flickr).

Rwanda has been selected as the pilot country for a new digital system that enables donors and recipients to share data on aid management, with the aim of improving transparency.

The new system, Global Funding Standards – Good Financing and Grant Practice (GFGP), is an initiative of the African Academy of Sciences (AAS). A memorandum of understanding was signed in August in which Rwanda became the first country to adopt the system, with the launch scheduled for December. Parties will be able to jointly access data online and share financial management expertise.

An online self-assessment tool, the Global Grant Community Portal, will allow community-based organisations, NGOS, and research and academic institutions to demonstrate their capability to manage funding. The tool covers four practice areas: financial management; human resources; procurement; and governance.

Test your skills

Institutions are benchmarked through a cumulative four tier assessment – Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum – that rates their capabilities to manage grants, with the goal of making African organisations more attractive to funders. The system will be for use by public, private, local and international organisations, regardless of size of grant or area of activity.

The GFGP standard, adopted by the African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO) in June, aims to mitigate the risk of fraud and corruption. It was developed with the support of partners including the Wellcome charity, the UK Medical Research Council and Department of Health, and the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership.

Own goal

The system aims to become the method of choice for the international funder community to strengthen the risk assessment and governance of funds. The ultimate aim is for recipients to become certified as compliant with the new standard – analogous to organisations being certified to ISO 9001.

Rwanda earlier this year raised eyebrows with its decision to spend £30m ($40m) to put its name on the sleeve of Arsenal Football Club’s shirts. Some feared that aid had been spent to satisfy a personal whim of President Paul Kagame – but the government denied that aid money had been used for the deal.

About David Whitehouse

David Whitehouse spent 17 years as an editor with Bloomberg News in Paris. Still based there as a freelancer, he writes for The Economist Intelligence Unit as a financial services analyst. He is the author of a book on France's role in the Rwandan genocide and the trials of Rwandan suspects, which began in Paris in 2014.

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