African Public Procurement Network – Innovative Approaches to Public Procurement (Dakar)

November 13-17, 2019: African Public Procurement Network (APPN) First General Assembly – Innovative Approaches to Public Procurement (Dakar)

CICA attended this meeting following a special invitation by the World Bank.

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  1. Public Procurement and sustainable development

The main theme was about how to increase transparency and sustainability as a whole in procurement. It was pointed to the fact that procurement needs funding. One has to ask whether the existing paradigm is serving us well. A need for increasing transparency and an efficient use of data is necessary.

Africa has a huge demographic advantage which must be used efficiently for example when talking about tax contributions. It is said that 1/5 of taxes go to public procurement. The main question that remains is how these can be used more efficiently.

  1. Panel Disucssion: Disruptive technologies and their impact on public procurement

Disruptive technologies for procurement such as the automation of the procurement cycle, easy measurement of the performance through analytics etc. e-General Procurement (e-GP) systems were also considered provided that the whole e-GP system can be maintained, and skills can be developed to manage the flow of data.

  1. Panel Discussion: Use of innovative procurement tools to improve public procurement performance

The panel discussions dealt with how innovative procurement tools such as artificial intelligence, electronic collection and use of data for performance measurement or open contract data could transform procurement. It was mentioned that Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Africa that do have the capacity to innovate don’t have access to public procurement.

  1. Panel Discussion: Professionalization and capacity building of procurement workforce – essential for efficiency gains

The session focused on the importance of the planification and good preparation of the procurement procedure. According to the OECD, public procurement represents 15% of GDP.

It was mentioned that the quality-price ratio has to be considered and that choosing the lowest bid is not an option. In order to counter those tendencies, capacity building in procurement is necessary. There is currently no distinct job profile or training for procurement specialists. Attribution of competences is solely based on experience. It was suggested to create a new job profile for public procurement and to integrate such a training into university courses.

  1. Panel Discussion: Importance of Public-Private Partnership (PPP) to public service delivery

It was mentioned that PPPs are based on trust between the private sector and the citizens. PPPs thus goes beyond financing. Private capital should not be the driver for PPPs. Efficiency and performance are the drivers that enable PPPs and capital. PPPs imply a collateral benefit if the allocation of risk is designed properly. The risk should thus be transferred to the entity that is best equipped to manage it.  The updated Guidebook on PPP in infrastructure released by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) was also mentioned.

  1. Using Open Contracting Data to achieve a better infrastructure & Service Delivery

The main objective of the session was to understand how Open Contracting enhances procurement systems to deliver better services & infrastructure. Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS) is about describing contracting process, not tenders or contracts, but whole processes from planning through to delivery and payment. An individual contracting process has many different stages. OCDS brings data together with a single contracting process identifier: the OCID. This means that users can easily access joined up data across the whole contracting process. It has to be noted that OCDS isn’t an e-procurement system, it’s a standard for the disclosure of data.

  1. Panel Discussion: Methodology for Assessing Procurement Systems (MAPS II) – Mechanics and Benefits

The Methodology for Assessing Procurement Systems (MAPS) was presented. It is universal and can be used by all countries – regardless of income level or development status. Dozens of countries around the world have already used it. By showing what works and what does not, MAPS can support more efficient reforms for better public procurement systems.

The 4 pillars of the MAPS Methodology are:  Legal, Regulatory and Policy Framework, Institutional Framework and Management Capacity, Public Procurement Operations and Market Practices, Accountability, Integrity and Transparency of the Public Procurement System.