The Economist labeled Rwanda the Singapore of Africa for the impressive development achieved in governance since the 1994 genocide. The Government of Rwanda is celebrated by international donors for its capacity of delivering results and managing resources efficiently. Analysts have also expressed doubts about its success story in the fight against corruption. This paper aims to revisit the lessons learned from the Rwandan transition between 2000 and 2018.
The celebratory rhetoric associated with Botswana is that of an “African miracle”, highlighting its exceptionality in being able to transition towards a democratic state after it obtained independence from colonial power in 1966. Against all odds, it was able to develop a functioning multi-party democracy with relatively free and fair elections, rule of law, and universal franchise. Several studies underline the structural and actionable causes that allowed democratic principles to
rapidly spread: maintenance of pre-colonial political institutions, limited colonial exploitation by the British, an endowment in natural resources, effective economic management, and enlightened leadership. However, the most senior democracy in the African continent is undergoing a period of uncertainty and slowdown. An analysis of the indicators of good governance reveals how Botswana is not proceeding towards the successful path on which it embarked more than four decades ago, rather it is downgrading in several components over the 2008-2018 period.
As the European Commission has noted, trade has already been advancing the cause of good governance. Can international trade do more and become an instrument of promoting anticorruption; and with what effects? This report will summarize the existing evidence and options for the EU by addressing these four questions:
- What is the connection between trade and corruption? What is the mechanism linking the two, according to empirical evidence?
- What is the most recent practice in regard to free trade agreements and anticorruption provisions that should be considered by the EU when designing its own strategy for the future?
- What is the evidence concerning the performance of pure anticorruption provisions, not directly related to trade, in the form of international conventions and treaties against corruption, seeing that their inclusion in trade agreements is increasingly recommended?
- What are the options for the EU, seeing that it is also the world’s largest development donor, giving aid to more than 110 of the countries it trades with?
The evidence for this brief report is on the one hand based on secondary sources, as organizations such as the OECD or the Bretton Woods institutions have been researching this subject for quite some time, while on the other hand it is based on original research funded by the EU’s own Seventh Framework project ANTICORRP (anticorrp.eu) which is dedicated to anticorruption.
The recent history of Eastern Europe can best be understood as a transition to a new social contract between the postcommunist state that emerged from its communist predecessor and the postcommunist citizen who evolved from the communist subject. It is the relationship between state and society under communism that best explains the divergent paths taken by the former communist countries after 1989. Where societies had been weak, these networks managed to capture full social control during the transition, using their influence to appropriate former state assets. Where the gap had been widest between the level of state power and the level of social autonomy during communism, the most difficult transitions ensued, as there was no ground on which to build a social contract.