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According to the 2017 Benchmarking Public Procurement (BPP) report from the World Bank, governments all over the world are still struggling with transparency and efficiency in their public procurement. Each year, the World Bank compiles data from 123 countries to assess the state of government procuement, and to highlight how economies at every stage of development could improve.

Some of the struggles spotlighted by the data analysis will be familiar to anyone who sells to or buys on behalf of the government, no matter where you live in the world. The report notes, for instance, that only one third of the economies measured don’t suffer from some sort of payment delay to suppliers, a key roadblock in preventing businesses from participating in the public market.

Governments also still struggle with digitizing their procurement processes. According to the report:

Economies in all regions are implementing reforms to conduct the procurement process online. However, a wide gap remains between economies that do not yet have an online portal dedicated to public procurement and other economies that have sophisticated e-procurement platforms that offer a range of services (and economies in between that offer limited information). Twenty-six of the 180 economies measured…do not have an electronic portal dedicated to public procurement. The lack of such a portal means that suppliers may not have access to procurement opportunities and associated information.

The data also revealed issues with complaint mechanisms, both established, consistent and “fair” mechanisms for bidders to lodge complaints, and predictable response times.

There is a lot more to dig into in this 260-page report, and I recommend this very interesting blog post on the World Bank’s site about public procurement and GDP as a good place to start.

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