In today’s digital environment, while information can be free to access, it is also widely dispersed, hard to find, and difficult to verify. According to Statista, as of 2019 there was an estimated 1.72 billion websites with varying levels of publicly accessible information. Searching for relevant, useful, and reliable information can become a frustrating mission, especially when related to public procurement.
It was based on this premise that the World Bank developed the Global Public Procurement Database (GPPD). Everyone from policy makers, procurement practitioners, government officials, NGOs, academics, members of the private sector, civil society and citizens have instant access to public procurement system information from 218 countries and independent territories. Having this data concentrated in a single publicly accessible location is one of many assets of the GPPD.
The GPPD uses verified data. The development team obtained the data through multiple sources and a rigorous vetting process. The team implemented exhaustive desk research, pulled together information from existing World Bank data resources and communicated extensively with public procurement agencies (PPAs) to capture their country’s GPPD indicators.
The GPPD allows country comparisons and the export of multiple country profiles. Through the country comparison functionality, users can obtain a side-by-side view, helping them compare country information, procurement practices, laws and regulations, and performance indicators. Comparisons can be done by country or region. For instance, a multinational manufacturer interested in evaluating whether to enter a country’s market is able to use information obtained from the GPPD to build comparative business cases in support of its go-to-market strategy for a region and/or individual country. The company may then present strengths and weaknesses of a country’s procurement system to relevant stakeholders with the goal of advancing procurement reform within the country that will be more favorable to industry.
Users will find links to procurement laws and regulations and related documentation. Users have easy access to key clauses of procurement laws, including links to the original laws on country websites. This information allied with the country comparison functionality can be helpful to multiple user groups. For instance, countries embarking on a procurement reform and seeking out international best practices in procurement laws and regulations can use the database as a benchmark to help promote reforms as they are able to see how they compare to their peers. Business Councils and Chambers of Commerce looking to increase trade outside of traditional sectors have instant access to public procurement data, which will allow to promote reforms that will make it a more competitive market to attract Foreign Direct Investment and Trade. Public procurement indicator information can be directly incorporated into their strategic plan as a comparative analysis used to promote trade.
Users can also see how e-procurement systems function globally. The use of innovative technologies is transforming the way public procurement is done, helping detect inefficiencies and bottlenecks in procurement processes and automating fraud detection. eProcurement development and reform is a key topic for any country looking to improve its public procurement performance. The GPPD will help procurement specialists and government officials involved in the reform process compare e-procurement system functionality globally or in countries with similar income and governance characteristics. Combining this information with other products – such as the World Bank’s e-procurement toolkit and e-procurement learning – will inform legal and operational decisions to enhance e-procurement reforms.
The GPPD has a document library containing public procurement annual reports and procurement assessments. These documents are free and available for download. Everyone can benefit from this, particularly, Academia and NGOs/CSOs. Researchers can access, search and download an array of procurement data to produce independent analysis. CSOs can find information on procurement system performance, procurement laws, and relevant country procurement assessments to produce reports promoting procurement reform. Organizations can reference the GPPD as an independent and comprehensive data source lending credibility to the analysis and recommendations. The uses of GPPD data and terminologies further promotes standardization of procurement terminology globally – a key to producing and understanding comparative country analysis.
The, but its greatest strength resides in what it enables the various actors involved in public procurement to accomplish. The GPPD can be a true driving force to help shape and inform the design of better public procurement systems.