SUGAR project in Uganda & STAAC project in Ghana
SUGAR in Uganda
DFID has initiated a new programme, called Strengthening Uganda’s Anti-Corruption and Accountability Regime (SUGAR). The SUGAR programme is a 5-year, £30m investment, by DFID to support increased accountability in Uganda and address corruption.
Previous interventions and programmes in this space have not proven successful. As a result, the SUGAR programme has been designed with a different approach in mind, based on an agreement between the donors in Uganda on how to understand and respond to the previous lack of success. The philosophy behind the SUGAR programme has resultet in a two-pronged approach. The first one is based on the idea that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. The programme will therefore seek to strengthen the Anti-Corruption Chain in its entirety rather than focus on specific institutions. The underlying assumption is that by supporting detection, investigation, prosecution, adjudication, and enforcement of sanctions (including the recovery of the proceeds of corruption), the project will contribute to increase the prohibitive cost of engaging in public sector corruption in an endemically corrupt environment.
The second prong is based on an alternative assumption that due to the endemic corruption situation, corruption in Uganda’s public institutions is so widespread that all staff, incl. leaders and managers, are part of the problem. And since patronage has a strong role to play in Uganda’s social and political economy, the rule of law (loyalty and adherence to impersonal rules) is undermined both by corruption and adherence to person-based rules. Consequently, if institutional effectiveness is to improve, the top patron must want that. It is also assumed that effective formal institutions only emerge when the interests of the political settlement are aligned with the outcomes of formal institutions. Further, where a public institution suffers from a collective action problem of corruption, the entire institutional culture needs to change.
The main entry point for SUGAR is to find ways to support strong and sustainable institutional integrity in systemic institutional transformations, also beyond a shift in institutional leadership. Such support will focus on internal control measures that strengthen institutional performance incentives, while reducing the risk of corruption across institutional work processes. Given the social and political economy of Uganda, support will equally need to be directed at widening the circle of transformative leaders with sufficient capacities to maintain institutional integrity and high-level performance gains.
As learnt from previous interventions; institutional frameworks (“form”) mean little if there is no effective implementation (“function). Any detailed and commonly accepted understanding of why effective implementation is missing does not exist although many alternative suggestions and analytical frameworks do exist. As a means to address the problem of weak institutional implementation, SUGAR has adopted the Problem Driven Iterative Adaptation (PDIA) approach, which ensures continuous learning with a view to enhance project effectiveness in addressing identified problems obstructing improved performance of the anti-corruption chain, and the establishment of strong and sustainable institutional integrity in institutions under transition.
The intended impact is to raise the risk of engaging in corruption in the public sector.
STAAC in Ghana
STAAC-Ghana is a £6m programme that intends to increase the risks for those engaged in corrupt activities, resulting in a reduction in the incidence of corruption at all levels. The intended impact is more active implementation of anti-corruption measures from scrutiny to punitive action, increasing the risks for those engaging in corrupt activities.
The programme seeks to support both the supply and demand sides. It will seek to improve the performance of all aspects of the anti-corruption chain – deterrence, detection and sanctioning, including asset-tracing and recovery. It will help key agencies, including the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC), the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) and the financial courts, to work more effectively together on the identification and handling of corruption risks and cases. It will also strengthen the Public Procurement Agency (PPA) to improve procurement regulation and oversight.
On the demand-side, the programme will provide technical assistance and financial support to expand work undertaken by think tanks, CSOs and the media to monitor and report on the extent and modalities of corruption in Ghana and Government performance in relation to preventing and addressing corruption. There is a £1.5m Grant Fund to support the demand-side work. Support to selected civil society partners will seek to ensure that interventions are based on robust analysis and strategic vision, and are followed through to a logical conclusion. The programme will be complemented by a £1m Strategic and Technical Support Facility.
Finally the programme seeks to increase national and international incentives for the Government of Ghana to take action against corruption, by strengthening dialogue on the subject between the Government and civil society, the private sector and donors.
As a means to address the risk of weak implementation, STAAC has adopted a Developmental Evaluation approach, which ensures continuous learning with a view to enhance project effectiveness.
Book review: John-Andrew McNeish (2021) Sovereign Forces: Everyday Challenges to Environmental Governance in Latin America. Berghahn Books.
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