Fighting Corruption in the Construction of Large Dams

The Experience of Burkinabe Utility, ONEA


In the early 1990s, the public Burkinabe utility, ONEA, was performing poorly and was in a difficult financial situation. The rate of access to water in Ouagadougou, the capital, was barely 50%, and the rate of access to improved sanitation around 5%. By 2011, the utility was leading the successful development of the Ziga dam project and had increased access to water rates to 80%.

The utility has reformed and reorganized to reach these objectives, assessing integrity risks to steer some of the changes.


Action and Outcomes: ONEA Reform

The reform process of ONEA started in the 1990s with a clarification of the role of the utility as a state company. The supervisory board was expanded to include representatives from municipalities and consumer associations. Changes and improvements were made to HR management systems, accounting and quality control. A key success factor in improving performance was to give more focus to client relationships and service delivery and expand accordingly. The restructuring was accompanied by a series of measures to increase transparency and accountability on financial results. A brief integrity risk mapping exercise based on the AWIS approach was a useful in steering change. ONEA was certified ISO 9001:2008 in 2010.

Find out more about the restructuring process in this ONEA case study (in French only)


Anti-Corruption Measures for the Ziga Dam Development

The Ziga dam is a flagship project for ONEA and a key development to ensure wider access to water in the Burkinabe capital. Specific attention was given to anti-corruption and integrity measures and processes during project management to ensure timely and in-budget completion of the dam construction. Some of these measures included a restructuring of some of the company units to better control project management.

Care was also given to integrated resource management and sustainable development strategies. The procurement project was specifically regulated and controlled to minimize risk of corruption. For example, special attention was given to defining project specifications, getting integrity commitments from potential suppliers and controlling the offer submission process. The Ziga dam is now regarded as an example of good practice in the construction of works of this scale and kind in West Africa.

See the whole case study on the Ziga dam project development:

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