ADBC Monitors: New Policy for Procurement in the World Bank

On behalf of Danish companies, the American-Danish Business Council has taken a look at the coming procurement changes in the World Bank.

As the World Bank works out the details of its new Procurement Policy, the two-year review process, set to finish in early 2015, will seek to change the Bank’s approach to procurement from the traditional focus on compliance – follow the instructions and all will go well – to more holistically consider actual outcomes using project management tools. This aims to provide more flexibility for procurements, especially those with a lower risk profile.

The World Bank Procurement Policy is a central part of the operational framework that governs every investment operation supported by the Bank. This affects some 1,600 ongoing projects as well as almost as many trust-funded activities under recipient execution.

Besides a less regimented compliance focus, the new Procurement Policy will ensure more clarity and transparency for bidders, as well as more globally oriented strategic assessments of bids. The vision statement of this new approach to procurement is “Value for money with integrity in delivering sustainable development”. In concrete terms, that will allow World Bank personnel to make professional justified decisions in lieu of simply following instructions.

Scope for Synergies between WTO and the World Bank

On May 12, 2014, the World Bank hosted a meeting on the WTO Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) to enhance cooperation between the World Bank and WTO. The WTO GPA is the world’s main international legal instrument for regulating the conduct of international trade in government procurement markets to ensure a culture of fairness and accountability. This may be an option to the World Bank system, as there is a shared interest in having well-functioning procurement systems.

Christopher Browne, World Bank Chief Procurement Officer, confirmed the Bank is looking at alternative procurement systems and has agreed with the board to list systems of other multilateral banks and countries that are members of GPA.

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