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Reforms under the World Bank Procurement and the Policy Implications for Developing Countries

Fred Borson


Keywords: Donors, Foreign Aid, Africa, Anti-Corruption, Development Aid, World Bank, Development Partners

The World Bank is undergoing a major reform of its procurement policy which regulates the procurement of projects financed by the Bank. This reform represents a major shift from how the Bank used to operate, where it intends to move away from the current one-size-fits-all approach to a more fit-for-purpose approach. The Bank usually provides financial assistance for development projects and its procurement policies are significant for the general development community, especially those developing countries that rely on the Bank for financial assistance to implement major development projects. This paper examines the policy implications of the World Bank procurement reforms for developing countries, based on doctrinal and empirical research. It analyses the interaction between the World Bank regime and national systems, and highlights the implications for development policies in national systems. The research concludes that the Bank’s reforms represent a significant improvement in the way it used to operate and has the potential to support national development policies in certain limited respects. Largely however, the Bank’s procurement policies remain significantly complex and also limits policy space for the implementation of domestic policies.
Keywords: Donors; Foreign Aid; Africa; Anti-Corruption; Development Aid; World Bank.

Fred Borson, Research Assistant in Development Procurement at University of Nottingham, Public Procurement Research Group. The author would like to thank Peter Trepte, University of Nottingham, for his valuable comments on this paper. DOI: 10.21552/epppl/2017/2/8


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