Feature Stories



Data Analysis and Collaborative Work in Action for Expedited Disbursements in Africa

V S Krishnakumar and Irina Luca
Practice Managers, Solutions and Innovations in Procurement, Governance Global Practice

Data analysis, followed by close monitoring, is helping the Bank teams – Task Team Leaders (TTLs), and technical and procurement specialists – work with clients to expedite implementation and increase disbursements. As the chart 1 shows, high value and complex procurements have been cleared for contract awards from July 2015 to June 30, 2016 (US$2.41 billion) by GPs and Countries.

Table 1 - Contract Awards Cleared in FY16 as of June 30 2016

Chart 2 shows projects under different stages of the process (US$4.3 billion).

Table 2 - Awaiting the next stage as of June 30 2016

As an example, in one of the Regional hydro power projects, prior to the opening of bids, our teams provided hand-holding support in the form of a mock bid evaluation to the client evaluation committee. This and many similar instances of hand-holding guidance and support across several countries and projects have not only improved the quality and speed of procurement implementation but also contributed to client capacity development.

We hasten to add that governance, institutional and political challenges still pose a threat to procurement and contracting outcomes.

As these challenges cannot be addressed by just technical and procurement solutions alone, we work collaboratively with the CMUs, GPs, financing partners and other stakeholders to reach a common understanding of the problems on the ground and finding integrated and workable solutions. However, given some of the country specific complexities, there are times when the balancing act becomes more difficult– for instance, during an election year or in the case of political barriers to land reforms that hinder the procurement of Land Management Information Systems.

Diverse range of support and services

In close collaboration with TTLs and technical specialists from other GPs, our procurement staff in both HQ and Country Offices provide a diverse range of support and services to our clients. Some of the key ones are:

  1. Upstream active involvement – working with both internal and external clients during project preparation (IDA, IBRD & TFs);
  2. Providing hand-holding guidance and support and developing client capacity during project implementation;
  3. Bringing innovative solutions to procurement and implementation problems;
  4. Providing several informal and formal interventions to remove bottlenecks in project implementation (some staff assume an informal role of co-TTL);
  5. Assisting with the proper handling of procurement complaints from the stakeholders – business community and Bank’s Executive Directors;
  6. Protecting our institution from certain reputational risks, and playing a key role in our institution's Governance and Anti-corruption agenda;
  7. Working with client governments to develop capacity and implement systems in public procurement, using specific components under IDA & trust funded operations as well as RAS initiatives (example Angola and Botswana) – a few notable examples:
  8. Assessing government procurement systems performance based on value chain analysis in order to identify systemic bottlenecks and increase efficiency in the use of public funds (conducted in Senegal, Cameroun, Ethiopia etc. - will be expanded to other countries);
  9. Working with Education GP and the client country to develop a component in a new FY17 operation to strengthen the procurement systems and capacity in the Education Ministry;
  10. Developing and supporting the implementation of e-Government Procurement Systems in countries like Zambia, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Ivory Coast, Benin etc., thus helping to increase transparency, private sector/SME access to public tendering and contracts, and data analytics, to name a few benefits of e-GP systems. For instance, Zambia e-GP was launched by the President of Zambia on July 8, 2016.