Nigeria: using an app to curb corruption

Illegal checkpoints make life difficult for Nigerian traders. An app is making incidents visible to the public and helping prevent corruption.

Traders and producers transporting goods in Nigeria regularly have to stop at checkpoints. Many of these have been set up illegally along trade routes and at borders, and drivers often pass through several checkpoints on one journey. Almost 60 per cent of the exporters that GIZ surveyed in 2012 said they routinely encountered between three and five illegal roadside checks on the way from the border to their destinations. These checks cost the traders time and money – often more money than they make in a day. If someone refuses to pay, things can quickly turn violent.

A free app has been developed for smartphones to enable people to report incidents along transport routes. These are then registered in the Trade Route Incident Mapping System (TRIMS) and marked on a map for everyone to see. People can send anonymous reports using the app with information about where the incident took place and what sort of incident it was. Since the project began in 2014, more than 2,000 incidents have been registered. This information has been used to create an interactive map on the website, making offences visible. The project also raises awareness of corruption and how to prevent it. Through radio programmes, posters and brochures it reaches out to those affected and makes the public aware of the problem.

David Deissner, Vodafone Institute, endorsed this positive development that can be promoted using digital technology. ‘Digital Change opens up many new chances in developing countries’ he said at the ‘World in Transition’ event in Berlin, ‘It brought up many innovations, that facilitated economic and social progress.’

‘World in Transition’ is a series of events hosted by Tagesspiegel and GIZ. It discusses contemporary issues in international cooperation.

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