High-Level Forum Adopts “Tunis Declaration on Public Procurement Reforms in Africa”

18/11/2009
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Tunis, 17 November 2009 – A High-Level Forum on Public Procurement Reforms concluded deliberations on Tuesday 17 November 2009 in Tunis, with the adoption of the “Tunis Declaration on Public Procurement Reforms in Africa”. The Declaration affirms Africa’s priorities with regard to procurement reforms in the coming years.

One of the key resolutions aims at strengthening, pursuing and improving reforms of existing public procurement systems so as to make them more effective, efficient and transparent, through institutional capacity building and by ensuring systemic integrity. This will strengthen good governance and accountability in public finance as well as improved social services and poverty reduction.

Another key outcome of the Forum was the establishment of a network of procurement practitioners across Africa. This will provide a forum for the exchange of views on best practices and the way forward.

The AfDB President, Donald Kaberuka, used the event to highlight broader issues that are closely related to procurement in Africa. He said that “in the economic governance area, progress is being made, not everywhere, not all the time, but progress is being made.” According to him, progress has equally been made in the domain of procurement since the first forum held in December 1998 at the AfDB headquarters in Côte d’Ivoire. Since the Abidjan conference, several African countries have embarked on procurement reforms programs with the support of the AfDB, the World Bank and other development partners, and the assistance of sub-regional organizations such as the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), which have adopted regional directives on public procurement.

However, several weaknesses and challenges persist. These include ineffective implementation of reformed procurement systems, especially the building of procurement capacity and institutions. The AfDB has been helping to tackle these weaknesses by building institutions. However, President Kaberuka identified two pre-requisites needed for the system to function—they must have the capacity and there must be political will. The Forum is important for the Bank, because as participants exchange experiences and best practices, they increase the capacity of the institutions to function, and by improving the procurement system, public finance management is equally improved.

The Tunisian State Secretary, Mohnsen Laroui and the AfDB Chief Operating Officer and Vice President, Nkosana Moyo, presided over the closing ceremony on behalf of African delegates and the Bank Group, respectively.

The four major themes discussed during the two-day Forum were: “Public Procurement reforms in Africa”, Public Procurement as a tool for Economic Development”, “Public Procurement Capacity Building Frameworks and Pro-integrity Initiatives”, as well as “Public Procurement Reforms and regional Economic Integration”.

The Forum was organized by the AfDB in partnership with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) and the World Bank (WB).


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