Developing countries lose 10 times more money due to corruption than they receive in official aid. As contracts from the world’s governments amount to $9.5 trillion annually, public procurement is one of the major areas affected by corruption. In some developing countries, procurement accounts for up to 70% of public spending, while remaining a hotbed for unfair competition, kickbacks and overall economic inefficiency.
Very little is standard (or even common) about existing government procurement practices, starting with basics, like making a tender announcement public or submitting a bid. Even within a country, there are often myriads of incompatible systems in place, and not only developing countries are affected by this. For example, there are some 3000 disparate procurement websites that belong to U.S. local governments. The EU has been struggling to integrate national and regional procurement system of the member states for years; while some promising standards have been introduced by the Pan-European Public Procurement Online (PEPPOL) initiative, they are yet to become a mainstream reality.
There are areas in which common standard tools exist for years, with the health sector being a notable example (OpenMRIS platform for service delivery and DHIS for reporting purposes; both solutions have been implemented in many countries). There is no reason not to have common standard tools in such important area as the government contracting.
Development Gateway, with its vast experience in both procurement and standard-compliant aid management systems work, is ready to contribute to their creation.