How can West Africa benefit from more inclusive and sustainable growth?
To help answer this question, Development Gateway and the Open Contracting Partnership are launching a series of public procurement assessments in five West African countries: Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Senegal. With support from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, UK, this initiative will aim to gauge the state of openness of public procurement processes in each country, understand the key procurement actors, and identify opportunities for procurement reform and the adoption of open contracting principles.
The advent of e-procurement and the publication of public procurement data online have increased private sector participation in contracting. But the untapped value of e-procurement is in the underlying data that these systems collect. Basic data about the timeliness and cost effectiveness of individual contracts can reveal deviations that indicate a potential risk of illicit behavior. More detailed data about contract implementation, such as payment dates and contract milestones, can expose additional risks. The effective harvesting and analysis of procurement data has potential to reshape the public procurement market -- the largest market in most countries -- and give citizens confidence that their governments are spending tax money wisely.
In West Africa and beyond, governments are recognizing the potential for enhancing their procurement practices through the use of procurement analytics and adoption of open contracting practices. Ghana and Nigeria are among a group of 14 countries, participating in the recent UK Anti-Corruption Summit, to endorse the principles of open contracting. At a recent OGP Africa regional meeting, many African countries expressed their sustained interest in implementing more transparent public contracting, creating an ideal opportunity for this program to provide concrete recommendations to move from commitment to implementation in each study country and throughout the region.