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Africa's Public Procurement & Entrepreneurship Research Initiative – APPERI

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Africa needs qualified procurement professionals


Ghana Business News

May 23rd, 2013

Mr Samuel Sellas-Mensah, Chief Executive of the Public Procurement Authority (PPA), has said developing countries need well qualified procurement professionals to manage the challenges in the current global economic environment.

He said: “The current global economic environment, which is evident in high levels of unemployment, increased perceptions of corruption, inadequate hard and soft infrastructure and devastating effects of climate change, makes it imperative for the continent to have well qualified procurement professionals”.

Mr Sellas-Mensah said this when he opened a three-day Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS) Pan-African Conference in Accra on Tuesday.

The event is under the theme: “The Strategic Role of Procurement Professionals in the Development of Africa.”

He said when public procurement was effectively managed by well qualified professionals, there was bound to be rippling effects that could lead to improvement in the economies of developing countries.

Mr Sellas-Mensah said though most factories in Africa might be as productive as those in China and India, the prices of their goods were normally not competitive due to the poor management of their value chains and the lack of requisite infrastructure.

He said there was the need for investment in the training of well qualified procurement professionals who would be able to eliminate all forms of waste and inject efficiency into their sourcing and acquisition process.

Mr Sellas-Mensah said qualified procurement professionals would provide the continent with efficient, professional, accountable and transparent functions, by using their expertise to negotiate and tap into the global supply chain to fit into the principles of procurement.

He said procurement professionals were able to conduct effective ‘supplier and spend’ analysis that would inform managerial decision and align procurement strategies to organizational goals.

Mr Sellas-Mensah said there was a strong correlation between corruption and bad procurement practices and its debilitating effect on African economies, saying countries practicing effective procurement systems were on the path of curbing corruption.

He said investing in the growth and development of procurement professionals on the continent would be a sure way for Africa to realize its dreams and aspirations.

The Chief Executive of the PPA said his outfit had over the years made some achievements due to the development of new procurement monitoring and evaluation tools, publication of manual to operations of public procurement practitioners and training modules of procurement practitioners and the high ratings by the World Bank.

“Our experiences and achievements for almost a decade can attest to the strategic importance of procurement professionals in national development.

“Since public procurement constitutes 20 per cent of GDP of most developing economies and absorbs 50 per cent of their revenue exclusive of government wage bills, it is believed that the procurement function is critical in delivering both functional and horizontal objectives of any development agenda,” he said.

Rethinking the Fight Against Corruption


Brookings News

By Daniel Kaufmann

Fighting corruption requires a new understanding of how the global problem has evolved, for it is bigger and broader than petty bribery or crooked deals in developing countries. Merely adopting a new anti-corruption law, creating another commission, or launching another ‘campaign’ will not get the job done. We can no longer fight corruption by simply fighting corruption alone.

Corruption is a symptom of a larger disease — the failure of institutions and governance, resulting in poor management of revenues and resources and an absence of delivery of public goods and services. We must think beyond anti-corruption rhetoric and traditional tactics. We need to be more strategic and rigorous, identifying and addressing corruption’s underlying causes and examining the weaknesses in key institutions and government policies and practices. We have to focus our efforts on the broader context of governance and accountability. Only then can we see the many other shapes and forms corruption can take and address this epidemic.

Of its many guises, legal corruption is a particularly pernicious one that gets insufficient attention. Legal corruption refers to efforts by companies and individuals to shape law or policies to their advantage, often done quasi-legally, via campaign finance, lobbying or exchange of favors to politicians, regulators and other government officials. It is dealings between venal politicians and powerful financial and industrial executives. In its more extreme form, legal corruption can lead to control of entire states, through the phenomenon dubbed ‘state capture,’ and result in enormous losses for societies.

In many developing countries, legal and illegal corruption coexists, and it has become commonplace for multinational oil and mining companies to collude with elite politicians to deprive citizens of the benefits of their natural resourcesNigeria lost $35 billion over the last 10 years through corruption and mismanagement of its oil industry. The evidence suggests — and the people of these developing countries attest — growth cannot sustain where corruption thrives.

The reach of legal corruption, however, is not limited to countries with weak governments. It has also enabled Wall Street investment banks to unduly influence financial oversight institutions, bringing the U.S. and the global economy to the brink four years ago, and in recent months allowed collusion between U.K. and possibly U.S. banks to fix the global interest rate for their benefit.

This kind of corruption is a complex, multidimensional problem that needs to be confronted at every level. If we, as an international community, are going to get at its core, we need to recognize that improving governmental institutions is key. Good governance only starts with elections and higher levels of transparency. Elections cannot be effective unless they are free, fair and clean, and complemented by real freedom of expression. Transparency with impunity will not bring forth justice or make governments accountable. Broader governance reforms require serious progress in rule of law to make any real, lasting impact. Equally important is a free press. While we have seen progress towards democracy in many parts of the world, roughly two-thirds does not have a fully free media and, in some countries, the movement is backwards.

As crucial is the management of the world’s natural resources. Today, 700 million people, in about 60 countries, live in poverty though they sit atop billions of dollars in oil, gas and minerals. Such abject poverty in the midst of abundance is a call for action. The overwhelming majority of these citizens live in poorly governed countries — those that rate low in corruption control, transparency and accountability. The governance of these resources and the wealth they generate will make or break the development of these nations, and the social, economic, political and security implications will be far and wide.

The future of these resource-rich countries no longer rests mainly on foreign aid but on the extent and effective use of the country’s own resources and how they use them. For that to occur, a focused and concrete approach to improve governance and accountability is critical. Reshaping the fight against corruption into a smarter strategy that integrates the challenge of improving governance and institutions in both the public and private sphere is the way forward.

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