World Bank’s procurement policy review continues

23 January 2014

As part of the World Bank’s review of its operational procurement policy, in November 2013 its executive directors approved a proposed new framework on procurement for its clients, which aims to deliver “value for money with integrity in delivering sustainable development.” The Bank expects to develop a new policy by 2015 and consultations are on-going. An evaluation of the Bank’s public procurement policy by the Independent Evaluation Group (IEG), the Bank’s arms-length evaluation unit, also published in November, concluded present guidelines are “reasonably successful in securing fairness, competition, and transparency in Bank procurement”. It found that there are issues with the Bank’s procurement processes relating to “time taken, flexibility, and consistency”, which “can lead to losses in development effectiveness”. The IEG noted public procurement accounts for between 5 and 20 per cent of GDP in developing countries.

In a December blog Jeroen Kwakkenbos of Brussels-based NGO Eurodad said the Bank could do better at promoting local industries in developing countries and in linking up Bank policy with national development plans. The blog concluded “there is a clear need to focus on public procurement’s developmental effects over financial considerations if it is to demonstrate true ‘value for money’.” In a 2012 submission to the procurement review 23 civil society groups said the Bank’s procurement guidelines should be pro-poor, promote domestic industry development, work towards poverty eradication, sustainable development and mitigating climate change (see Update 81).