What Rwanda can teach us about effective public procurement reform using MAPS Assessments

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Kitabi, Rwanda. Photo: A'Melody Lee / World Bank Kitabi, Rwanda. Photo: A'Melody Lee / World Bank

In the mid-1990s, Rwanda was one of the world’s poorest countries. Significant progress has since been made, setting the country on the way to recovery. The Rwanda of today has aspirations which are reflected in the country’s Vision 2020, the Vision 2050, and the National Strategy for Transformation (NST 1) 2017–2024.

Vision 2050 aims to take Rwanda to upper-middle-income-country status by 2035 and high-income status by 2050, with the intention of providing productive economic opportunities and higher-quality living standards to all citizens. Based on figures from 2019, Rwanda is still considered a low-income country and was ranked 143 among 203 countries. 

Strengthening public procurement systems will be central to achieve concrete and sustainable results and to build effective institutions.  The scale of public procurement expenditure in 2017-18 was (RWF) 1066.5 billion (approx. USD 1.2 billion), which constituted 13.5 percent of Rwanda’s GDP. A more efficient procurement process can contribute substantially to public resources savings and in turn help the country meet its development objectives. This process is made easier with the Methodology for Assessing Procurement Systems (MAPS)

Assessing Rwanda’s Procurement Reform Progress 

In order to improve the public procurement system and keep its practices in line with international procurement frameworks, the Government of Rwanda sought World Bank assistance in January 2019 to carry out an assessment using  the latest universal tool, the Methodology for Assessing Procurement System (MAPS) under the leadership of the Rwanda Public Procurement Authority (RPPA). The results showed that Rwanda’s public procurement system, which is characterized by a consolidated legislative framework, effective control and audit system with strong ethics and anti-corruption measures, and a fully functional e-Procurement system, is comparable to those in advanced economies.

MAPS has four pillars:

  • Legal, Regulatory and Policy Framework;
  • Institutional Framework and Management Capacity;
  • Public Procurement Operations and Market Practices;
  • and Accountability, Integrity and Transparency of the Public Procurement System. 

These pillars cover laws that impact the public procurement (Law Governing Public Procurement No.62/2018 of 25/08/2018, Regulations of 2014 and a host of other laws and regulations), their application and practice. MAPS has a total of 14 indicators, 55 sub-indicators and a total of 210 sub-criteria with indications of gaps and recommendations for improvements. A country can define a baseline, set national targets, and measure progress over time. This assessment tool can provide countries with a picture of what areas they need to improve. No matter what stage of development a country is in, this tool is a useful framework for reform and to track progress. The chart below shows Rwanda’s current status.
Based on similar assessments as per MAPS 2018, the following comparison demonstrates that Rwanda is ahead of its regional peers and comparable to the public procurement system of Norway. 
What are the next steps?

 Moving forward Rwanda’s government has committed to: 

  1. improving contract implementation, professionalization of the procurement function with adequate and regular training, focusing on private sector and civil society engagement; 
  2. improving coordination, cooperation, and commitment of stakeholders to act on prioritized reforms; and
  3. encouraging procurement professionals and supervising officials to make informed decisions based on integrity, due diligence and well-documented discretion in interpreting and applying rules without fear. 

The main report is available on the following link and the executive summary is available here.

What does this assessment mean for Rwanda and for others? 

Rwanda’s reform efforts have allowed for an efficient, effective and transparent public procurement system, comparable to international good practices and to advanced economies of the world , with a commitment from the government to take on further actions to remove the existing gaps. 

Editor’s Note: This blog was written by joint efforts of Director General Rwanda Public Procurement Authority and staff and consultant of the World Bank. This MAPS assessment was an activity supported by the Global Procurement Partnership Multi-Donor Trust Fund (GPP MDTF), a Bank-administered fund for supporting public procurement reforms at the global and country levels. The GPP MDTF is implemented with contributions from the Agence Française de Développement, European Commission, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, and Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs. This blog was updated on November 30, 2020.


Uwingeneye Joyeuse

Director General, Rwanda Public Procurement Authority

Nagaraju Duthaluri

Lead Procurement Specialist

Mulugeta Dinka

Senior Procurement Specialist

Devesh Mishra

Senior Consultant, World Bank

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