By: Carlyn Hambuba | 14 Jul 16

In its bid to sustainably and efficiently manage government procurement processes and ensure that tax payers’ moneys are put to good use, Zambia’s President Edgar Chagwa Lungu launched the e-Government Procurement (e-GP) System on July 8, 2016.

The integrated e-GP system will be the first of its kind in sub Saharan Africa and is intended to improve the efficiency and accountability of public resources in Zambia. “Failure to properly manage public procurement processes can lead to wasted resources, efforts and poor development results,” the Zambian President Edgar Lungu noted in a speech read by the Vice President Inonge Wina at the launch. “As government, we have a huge task to safeguard public funds, by ensuring that modern and effective procurement systems are introduced.”

President Lungu announced that the e-GP System will be piloted in six institutions until January 2017 when it will be rolled out in all public institutions. The system will be run by the Zambia Public Procurement Authority but will be accessible by public sector institutions, private sector participants in procurement, civil society organizations, and citizens.

“I have worked on public procurement and governance for most of my life but I have never been more excited to finally have a solution called ‘’Open Contracting’. This has potential to change the legacy of opaqueness, fraud and lack of effectiveness in public contracting in many African countries,” said Robert Hunja, Director Governance Global Practice “I am even more excited that Zambia, a country from my continent, has launched an e-Government Procurement System, which will be the first integrated system of its kind in the world.”

The World Bank has been providing technical guidance, assistance and support to the Government of Zambia since the inception of the Public Financial Management Reform project in 2014. The e-GP platform integrates with Open Contracting and Geo-tagging system which is a very smart way of tracking projects’ physical progress remotely by use of smart phones. According to Guang Zhe Chen, World Bank Country Director for Southern Africa, “the launch of the e-GP system will make public procurement and contracting process more transparent and help to grow responsible private sector in Zambia.”

Corruption continues to hamper development and puts lives of millions at risk when vital services fail to materialize. The recent Anti-Corruption Summit in London highlighted in its communique the importance of Public Contracting and E-Procurement, which resonates with most of the initiatives being undertaken by Zambia in the e-GP system.

“These problems are not new. A recent inquiry into an African country discovered that millions were paid to non-existing firms and double payments were common. Open contracting offers an opportunity to shine a light on potential hotbeds of corruption. Where transparency shines, prosperity will grow,” said V. S. Krishnakumar, Practice Manager in Governance Global Practice. “We are hopeful that the Zambia’s e-Government Procurement System will set an example in this respect to the whole of Africa and to the World.”

“I am very pleased with the efforts put in by our team in helping clients build good systems that we could rely on in the context of the New Procurement Framework,” added Hunja.

Geographic Area: Africa (AFR)