Africa's Public Procurement & Entrepreneurship Research Initiative – APPERI



Supply Chain Management – turning professional?

The Guardian

The trend for professionalising supply chain management in the private sector is slowly reaching the public sector in Africa but still rarely appears anywhere near the top of development agendas.

The trend for professionalising supply chain management in the private sector is slowly reaching the public sector in Africa but still rarely appears anywhere near the top of development agendas. This despite the fact that, in many developing countries, public procurement accounts for over 50% of GDP, or considerably more where the private sector is small.

Historically, procurement and supply chain management have been undervalued and viewed as a process rather than a professional function. With the realisation that effective supply chain management plays a critical role in ensuring funds are well used, value for money in the delivery of basic services is achieved, and transparency and accountability is assured, the value of professional supply chain management needs to be recognised. How will this happen in countries where procurement is viewed as an “add-on” to other careers?

The wave of legal and institutional reforms to public procurement across Africa over the past few years has certainly focused attention more firmly on the question of capacity building. Many universities are subsequently providing pre-service training in supply chain management which is beginning to instil an early appreciation of the value of the function.

In the health sector, where the issues are more acute, major programmes to combat diseases such as HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis have highlighted the importance of strong procurement and supply chain due to the critical need for regular access to medical supplies. The World Health Organization identifies equitable access to medical products, vaccines and other technologies as one of the six building blocks to a well-functioning health system. The traditional approach to provide expensive in-service supply chain management training to doctors and pharmacists so that they can add this on to their day job is slowly changing but more needs to be done to raise the profile of supply chain management in health institutions.

This trend towards institutional reform in the public procurement sector is not focused solely on health. Procurement training is increasingly available at all levels, from basic introductions to new procurement procedures to academic courses run by universities. Crown Agents has worked with the governments of several African countries to ensure that their procurement capacity building strategies are delivered. Our long expertise in supply chain management and procurement reform and our ability to understand the local environment enable us to work with procurement authorities across Africa. In Ghana for example we helped to develop a whole programme of professional development that covered short, medium and long-term requirements. We partnered with the Institute of Management and Public Administration to implement the short-term plan which was based on training an estimated 25,000 people including procurement staff, tender committees, the private sector and oversight institutions addressing the cross-cutting nature of procurement. We also teamed up with tertiary education institutions to develop the medium and long term training which included a bachelors level degree course in procurement.

Professionalisation is not just about training; it is about transforming the view of the profession itself to ensure a local supply of qualified new recruits in the future. Securing professional accreditation validates and upholds the importance of the supply chain management role. In Botswana for example the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board is seeking accreditation of its training materials both nationally and internationally after Crown Agents helped it to develop a series of procurement training modules and completed a training-the-trainers course prior to building capacity in its procuring entities.
Many countries are even establishing their own national professional bodies as membership of international professional institutions such as UK Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply and Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport expands significantly in Africa.
In the health sector there are also a number of initiatives that support the strategic role of supply chain managers. Crown Agents has provided technical support and is an active stakeholder in ‘The People That Deliver’ initiative which promotes workforce excellence in supply chain management.
Building supply chain competence and promoting and valuing supply chain management as a professional career can make a positive impact on a country’s economic development and its people’s lives.

Content on this page is produced and controlled by Crown Agents.

Procurement Leaders Need to Challenge Tradition to Build a Resilient and Agile Function

The Sacramento Bee
The Sacramento Bee (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Sacramento Bee

By IQPC Exchange

August, 24, 2012

LONDON, August 24, 2012 — /PRNewswire/ —

CPO Exchange releases results of pan-industry, C-level procurement survey:

  • 83% of procurement leaders agree that they need to rethink their procurement strategies to better position their organisations to tackle present and future challenge
  • 57% are aiming for cost reduction and better control of spend to improve efficiencies and gain greater influence in the organisation;
  • 45% of respondents are looking to improve stakeholder management and communication and;
  • 39% aim to streamline internal processes through deployment of procurement technologies.

Over the last six months IQPC Exchange spoke with a pan industry group of C-level procurement leaders spanning Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East to find out what strategies they have put in place to safeguard their organisations in the unsettled economic and political climate and how are their procurement departments are responding to the fact that volatility is the new ‘normal’.

83% of procurement leaders agree that they need to rethink their procurement strategies to better position their organisations to tackle present and future challenges. Consequently, procurement risk management and supplier risk management came up as a top priority for 62% surveyed.

Gathering business intelligence about their suppliers and key markets, closely monitoring critical KPIs and spreading their risk by having more suppliers are further strategies mentioned.

Livia Trubenova, Head of Research at the CPO Exchange, commented on the results: “This fascinating survey is just the start of our continuing research with CPOs. We can already see that procurement leaders are working on growing the influence of and recognition for the procurement function within their organisations I look forward to the lively debate and benchmarking at the next CPO Exchange!”

The CPO Exchange will be releasing expert views on these and other topics through speaker interviews and updated research findings with C-level procurement leaders on the CPO Exchange website You can get involved by joining the CPO Exchange group on LinkedIn CPO Exchange to engage with leading procurement professionals.

The CPO Exchange is an invitation only event which brings together the most forward-thinking leaders in procurement to discuss strategic issues shaping their and your business agenda. This forum offers a perfect setting for leaders in procurement to network, benchmark and discuss effective business strategies. Attendees will tailor their agenda by selecting from a range of keynote presentations, lively panel debates, peer sharing roundtable discussions, interactive BrainWeave sessions and one-on-one business meetings of their choice.

For details of solution provider opportunities or to request your invitation, please get in touch with CPO Exchange team via or visit

* Senior procurement professionals

About IQPC Exchange

IQPC Exchange provides business executives around the world with tailored practical conferences, large scale events, topical seminars and in-house training programmes, keeping them up-to-date with industry trends, technological developments and the regulatory landscape.


Beata Majcher+44(0)20-7368-9404


Modes of Punditry, Modes of Influence

August 10th, 2011

By Sina Odugbemi

Years ago, I was a writer of opinions and editorials on the leading newspaper of influence in Lagos, Nigeria. We had on the editorial board  advisers to we the writers men who had vast experience of government and business both within and outside Nigeria. I learned a lesson from them that has stayed with me. They taught me that if you want policy makers to take you seriously even when they disagree with you, your commentary must meet two requirements.

What is saddening about our age of volubility is that the vast majority of public affairs commentators do not meet these two requirements. Lots of commentators do not have real mastery of the policy issues they are commenting on. Plus there is an epidemic of cheating, of ignoring political realities and simply assailing policy makers and leaders, and yelling: ‘Just fix it! Just show leadership!’ Leadership is coming to mean Performer of Miracles! Read more

Uganda: Government installs computers to track grassroots spending

Daily Monitor

August 8th, 2011

By Benon Herbert Oluka

The government has begun implementing a computerised financial management system that will enable the Ministry of Local Government to track all transactions carried out up to the lowest levels of government.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government, Mr John Kashaka Muhanguzi, said the project named the Tier 2 Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS) will initially be rolled out to 26 local governments. The project, which is being funded by the government with support from the World Bank, is expected to cost $4.3 million (about Shs11.6 billion)…The centralised system, according to the consortium of three companies that won the bid to implement it, is capable of delivering critical public sector functioning, covering budgeting, financial planning and reporting, procurement and asset management, among othersRead more.

Navigating Africa’s Public Procurement and Entrepreneurship Terrain

By Raymond Erick Zvavanyange

Imagine you have been assigned as the captain of a military ship with an important delivery to an international trading partner. In order to do so, you would need to navigate through a pirate-infested space in some coastland. Would you refuse this assignment? Would you take it as your mission to deliver the cargo in one-piece? What would you decide? This assignment demands rare courage, determination, intelligence and stamina to follow the course through the hostile, dangerous, risky and threatening water space. Furthermore, as captain keeping the communication channels operational with your centre station and destination gives the assurance that your track is kept in sight. Losing direction and storms encounter, if this occurs, adds uncertainty to completion of the mission. It is a nerve-wrecking and intense situation, synonymous, with navigating unfamiliar space towards a desired target. Navigation could be through countries, institutions, organizations, legislations and regulations, here referred to as terrain. By definition, a terrain is a relief feature common in Africa lands.

Courtesy of Paul Spud

In the same vein, a different terrain exists; a different assignment awaits practitioners across the African continent; they should navigate the public procurement and entrepreneurship terrain. It is a terrain because the platform is not inclusive; only “experienced captains” can navigate safely using the guiding equipment and reach the destination! In Africa, policy and measures to safeguard initiatives slacken with the setting of the Sun. It is increasingly becoming difficult to address any issue on a single platform. Some platformers are easily found in the hype, excitement and convenience of Web 2.0 and Social Media while others walk the streets having no hope of ever influencing the public procurement and entrepreneurship agenda. They simply do not have the means, platform, knowledge, influence and status, and in the worst cases, lack interest.

There are countries such as South Africa, which offer hope and promise of progress while others are “sleeping giants” that need to be given a wake up call. The African landscape is fast changing overtaking initiatives in the process, for example, the recent independence declaration by South Sudan, Africa’s newest nation. The Republic of South Sudan enters the same terrain that other countries have familiarised themselves with and in some instances, navigated through. The comforting note for all is that the target destination is in sight. In addition, the destination can be visualised when the same guiding equipment is used. Below is brief navigating equipment, translation, for “ideas” for navigating Africa’s public procurement and entrepreneurship terrain. It is up to the captain of the ship to decide whether to use the equipment or not; otherwise, one risks being overtaken by events or find themselves in an undesirable place.

  1. Recognise the multiple actors involved public procurement and entrepreneurship issues and the roles they play,
  2. Public procurement and entrepreneurship initiatives are not ends in themselves; they are means to end,
  3. All-encompassing policy and measures should factor in innovations in entrepreneurship and public procurement,
  4. Transparency and accountability still are key ingredients for successful entrepreneurship and procurement initiatives,
  5. Empowerment of youths and women is a current interdisciplinary initiative aimed at giving a voice to the voiceless, eliminating discrimination and changing mindsets,
  6. Settling disputes and conflicts diplomatically and not leaving them as stalemates;
  7. Exploring ways to integrate innovation and sustainability concepts in entrepreneurship and procurement issues;
  8. Knowledge from other world regions is essential and critical guide but not rule when drafting the future of public procurement and entrepreneurship in Africa, and
  9. Tapping into resources of minority groups is central to effectiveness of policy at community level

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