Feature Stories



Online Certificate Program in Public Procurement in Arabic Launched in Egypt

Online Certificate Program in Public Procurement in Arabic Launched in Egypt
by Yolanda Tayler,
Practice Manager, Solutions and Innovations in Procurement, Governance Global Practice, World Bank

Implementing "transparency" measures and "professionalizing" the workforce could sound top-down, trite, and even abstract at times, but public engagement is an organic way to precisely achieve this. On October 16-17, 2016, 30 high-level officials attended an event where the government of Egypt launched the Certificate Program in Public Procurement (CPPP) in Cairo. Mr. Ahmad Koshok, Vice Minister for Fiscal Policies Industrial Reform hailed the initiative as one of the most significant contributions of the World Bank, which would add great value to the operations of the Authority of Government Services and the Ministry of Finance. Deputy Minister of Finance for Administrative and Technical Department Mr. Khaled Nofal echoed the timeliness of this event especially with the passage of the 2016 Public Administration Act which requires professionally qualified personnel to carry out procurement functions in the government. Mr. Koshok also assured a full budget support in further developing programs on improving Egypt's procurement regulations, methods, and systems.

First launched in English in March, 2014, CPPP has attracted more than 55,000 learners from about 185 countries. Through an e-learning platform known as Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), CPPP will be, for the first time, offered in Arabic and adapted to the socio-economic and cultural context of the Middle East region. CPPP is a free and open learning public procurement program which provides learners with an opportunity to enhance their knowledge on procurement. They also earn a certificate upon successful completion.

Improving public procurement for efficiency and growth

The global public procurement economy is estimated at $9.3 trillion and gains of up to 10% are demonstrated on account of enhancing efficiency in procurement operations. Of those, about $4 trillion is estimated to be managed by non-professional hands, with minimal on-the-job orientation of the rules and regulations. When public procurement systems function well, countries get higher value and growth impact from their revenue.

Improving public procurement by educating the workforce

Given the complexity and volume of procurement requirements today, public procurement is more than a system of compliance to rules and regulations that involve administrative skills from the workforce. Even when a country's legal and institutional frameworks for public procurement are modernized, the procurement system is bound to underperform as long as the procurement workforce does not possess the capacity to implement those arrangements. This results in inconsistent interpretation and application of rules and procedures which invariably results in inefficiency in the procurement process, diminished value for money, problems in delivery of essential services, and more.

Improving public procurement through an innovative, e-learning tool

In the MENA region where millions of public servants are engaged in public procurement in some form or other, the main challenge is to develop and implement affordable and quality learning opportunities for procurement practitioners as well as for students who want to pursue a career in public procurement. In non-OECD countries, expensive costs of procurement classes and inconvenient physical access to coaching venues have made procurement education a limited option.

As an online platform, the MOOC maximizes accessibility and coverage, effectively overcoming constraints offered by costly, face-to-face training. Also, unlike conventional e-learning packages, MOOC takes advantage of information and communication technology to feature peer-to-peer learning options, interactive webinars and podcasts, significantly enhancing the learning experience.

First step, way forward

Following the launch of the MOOC Certificate program, with the World Bank support, government officials are planning the development of the MOOC Diploma Program based on the Egyptian Public Procurement Law and Executive Regulations, which will have a significant impact on the efficiency and the effectiveness of public expenditure.