Africa's Public Procurement & Entrepreneurship Research Initiative – APPERI


Supply chain management

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.

IBM Experts Deliver Recommendations to Ghana Ministry of Health for Increasing Access to More Affordable Health Care

Market Watch


May 14th, 2012

ACCRA, Ghana, May 14, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — A team of IBM‘s experts has presented the Ghana Ministry of Health with a forward-looking blueprint to provide all Ghanaians with access to health care, while also improving the availability of medicines and reducing their cost. The blueprint included recommendations for mechanisms to provide more timely and detailed information to decision makers.

The IBM team, comprising 12 individuals drawn from nine countries, was in Ghana as part of IBM’s pro-bono Corporate Service Corps program, in which IBM deploys teams of top employees to municipalities and countries to work on projects that intersect business, technology and society. The engagement in Ghana was coordinated with USAID, the government agency that provides U.S. economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide. IBM is also working with USAID to help other companies develop international volunteerism programs.

The Ghanaian health sector has faced various challenges, including weak logistical data, poor visibility and insight into medical data, limited medical product availability and quality, uneven planning and coordination, and occasional misalignment of health objectives and incentives. This is largely a result of a strongly decentralizing sector, leading to fragmented coordination.

An initial review of the health sector in June 2011 prompted the Ministry of Health to develop a five-year master plan aimed at addressing existing supply chain limitations. The plan recommended that the Ministry of Health establish a centralised “Supply Chain Management Unit,” an administrative body that could potentially link the public and private health sectors to establish efficiencies within the national health supply chain — the system of planners, suppliers, deliverers, and providers that ensure the cost effective and timely availability of medicines.

The IBM team of experts arrived in Ghana in mid-April and was tasked with assessing and addressing the factors involved in improving the system that manages this supply chain. The team was also asked to explore the costs and information technology requirements for establishing an automated logistics system, which will ensure the right medicines will be ordered, shipped, delivered, received and available at the right time. Such a system would also enable stakeholders, such as health care administrators, to view the underlying logistics processes so planning and adjustments can be simplified.

Key IBM recommendations were threefold. They included the recommendation of a system for informed decision making based on identifying and managing risks at critical control points. This will enable the Ministry of Health to base decisions on known and qualified risks and minimize surprises and “management by crisis.” The team also recommended that a highly accessible and visible cost model be established to enable managers to identify costly medical products and services. This will provide a clear understanding of the total cost of the supply chain in order to build in efficiencies within the system.

Finally, IBM developed a high level blueprint for building an information system supporting the delivery of medicines within the healthcare system.

“With this health sector Supply Chain Management Unit, Ghana hopes to serve as a model for many countries in Africa and other emerging markets faced with similar challenges,” said Mr. Samuel Boateng, the Director of Procurement for the Ministry of Health.

“The Supply Chain Management Unit framework suggested by the IBM experts will go far in securing increased access to essential medicines and health care by Ghanaians,” said Joe Mensah, IBM Country General Manager for Ghana. “An enhanced supply chain management system will lead to overall affordable and quality healthcare provided by the Government of Ghana to its citizens.”

IBM’s Corporate Service Corps is a global IBM initiative designed to provide small businesses, educational institutions and non-profit organizations in growth markets with sophisticated business consulting and skills development to help improve local conditions and foster job creation. IBM deploys teams of top employees from around the world representing information technology, research, marketing, finance, consulting, human resources, legal and business development to growth markets for a period of one month.

Since the launch of Corporate Service Corps in 2008, nearly 1,500 IBM employees based in 50 countries have been dispatched on more than 150 team assignments in 30 countries. Africa is a focus continent for IBM’s volunteerism programs. Since 2008, IBM’s Corporate Service Corps has deployed more than 500 IBM employees on approximately 44 teams to South Africa, Tanzania, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, and Egypt.

For more information on IBM Corporate Citizenship, please visit

For more information about IBM Corporate Service Corps, please visit

For more information and resources companies can use to develop international volunteerism programs, please visit the Centre of Excellence for International Corporate Volunteerism at

Media Inquiries:

Ari Fishkind IBM Media Relations 914-499-6420

Vera RosauerIBM External +254-737-537-030

Marie-Anne KinyanjuiIBM External


Copyright (C) 2012 PR Newswire. All rights reserved

Procurement and supply chain professionals converge over accountability

March 31, 2012

Over 500 senior executives and experts are expected to attend the Pan African conference on procurement and supply chain management from 8th to 9th of May, 2012 in South Africa.

Dr. Douglas Boateng, President and CEO of PanAvest International and Founding Chairman of KNUST’s West African Institute for Supply Chain Leadership will address the professionals at the 2012 Chartered Institute of Purchasing and supply (CIPS) conference under the theme “Risky Business”.

Participants will look at how procurement governance and professionalism can help negate business risks, plus assist governments to improve amongst others accountability and service delivery.

Dr Boateng currently chairs the institute’s Best Practice Adjudication Panel (Africa) and is also a FELLOW of the Institute. He is also the President of UK’s Institute of Operations Management-Africa, Editorial board member of Smart Procurement. He founded the West African Institute for Supply Chain leadership; a public private educational partnership between the PanAvest Foundation and KNUST Business School.

The Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply is the worlds’ largest professional body that upholds professional standards in procurement and supply chain management.

South Africa: Western Cape government to slash red tape


By Adam Leach

August 5th, 2011

Procurement bureaucracy is to be stripped away to allow companies in the Western Cape of South Africa to generate more business.

Speaking at the launch of the Western Cape Government’s red tape programme yesterday, Alan Winde, who is the economic development member of region’s executive council, announced the formation of a dedicated unit to identify the most damaging areas of bureaucracy and regulation and remove them.

If red tape is not addressed, it will remain an insidious threat to Western Cape businesses,” he said. “By placing unnecessary blockages in the way, it inhibits large enterprises, as well as those smaller enterprises that are so important to our economy.”

He went on to emphasise that rules and regulations that are found to be “beneficial” to industry would remain.

The two-fold process to make things run more smoothly will see the new unit “reduce or eradicate” needless legislation governing procurement while also adapting existing regulations and processes to make them more efficient both in terms of cost and the amount of time they take up.

Describing one of the key actions he said: “As part of this initiative, we will complete Regulatory Impact Assessments on procurement and supply chain management functions that constrain business. As they are completed, we will receive options for policy changes that ease red tape.”

The plans will also see the provincial government run a series of networking events and forums to work closely with industry. These events included twice yearly supplier days where government officials will meet with current and potential suppliers. Special events will also be held with small and medium enterprises to help them overcome the specific challenges they face with red tape.

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: