Publication: Opportunities and Challenges for Public Procurement in the First Months of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Results From an Experts Survey

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World Bank
The COVID-19 pandemic created unprecedented circumstances and challenges in many dimensions, without clear ex ante directions and guidance on the best strategies for coping with the emergency, including in public procurement. As a result, especially in the first months of the pandemic, governments responded to the COVID-19 crisis in myriad ways. To rationalize and take stock of these diverse experiences and challenges, the World Bank’s Procurement and Standards Global Unit and Development Impact Evaluation (DIME) unit conducted an International Survey of Procurement Specialists and Experts to document the legal and administrative framework for national emergency public procurement in the first months after the global COVID-19 outbreak. The survey was implemented between May and August 2020 and received 136 contributions covering 103 countries. The authors find that (a) some countries relied more heavily on high-risk procedures than on the procedures considered critical for effective and efficient emergency procurement; (b) lack of clarity on procurement needs and lack of coordination were significant bottlenecks experienced by most surveyed countries; (c) transparency and accountability standards deteriorated for COVID-19-related procurement relative to standard procurement; and (d) e-procurement, lessons from previous emergencies, and the quality of institutions are factors that enable national procurement systems to respond in a timely and effective manner to emergencies such as the COVID-19 crisis. Using these results, authors provide policy recommendations to guide countries to prepare and adapt their national procurement systems to respond to critical emergencies such as the COVID-19 crisis.
World Bank. 2021. Opportunities and Challenges for Public Procurement in the First Months of the COVID-19 Pandemic : Results From an Experts Survey. Equitable Growth, Finance and Institutions Insight;. © World Bank, Washington, DC. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.
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