Written By Andrew Mendelbaum, Development Gateway, 4 Apr 2017

Over the past several months, Development Gateway and the Open Contracting Partnership have been studying open contracting readiness across West Africa. Today, we are pleased to announce the publication of a series of open contracting scoping studies.

Working with the support of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (UK), we have produced:

What did we find?

For starters, we found improvement.

Over the past 15 years, many of the study countries adopted legal reforms aimed at improving the efficiency, effectiveness, competitiveness, and transparency of public procurement systems, engaging civil society and citizens in the process. The Nigerian Bureau of Public Procurement has convened a civil society working group and is developing an open contracting data portal, based on the Open Contracting Data Standard, to facilitate public access to procurement information. Ghana’s Public Procurement Authority publishes substantial data related to the tender, award and contract phases of the procurement process, while the Senegal’s Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (Autorité de Régulation des Marchés Publics) has launched a master’s degree program in public procurement.

However, we also found some challenges. In many countries, there remains a gap between procurement laws and their implementation, particularly when it comes to smaller ministries and agencies. Improved access to information is needed for citizens to trust that procurement is being conducted efficiently and legally. Procurement authorities must review their data collection policies and analytics to enhance their abilities to effectively track market competitiveness, corruption risk, and the performance of procuring entities.

Furthermore, all of the countries we studied can benefit from increased support for training and the adoption of appropriate technology tools to facilitate procurement implementation, data collection, and oversight.

Over the next couple weeks, we will be publishing additional analysis based on our report findings.