E-Procurement System in Ukraine Reduces Corruption by 25%

The recently developed electronic procurement system in Ukraine gained international recognition and significantly reduced corruption in public procurement.

Screen Shot 2016-08-16 at 11.12.00 AMUkraine has been implementing a robust public procurement reform program over the past two years with the goal of reducing corruption. Ukraine has been losing approximately US$2.4 million annually due to corruption in public procurements. The centerpiece of the reform is the eProcurement system called ProZorro. Originally developed by a group of Ukrainian volunteers from civil society and the private sector, ProZorro was piloted in 2015 throughout Ukraine and then transferred to the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade (MEDT) in early 2016 for nationwide release. As of August 1, all public institutions of all levels are required to use ProZorro for their procurements.

In May 2016, ProZorro received the World Procurement Award that acknowledged the system’s major breakthrough in the procurement field.

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Since early in 2015, MSI, A Tetra Tech Company, has assisted in assuring effective ProZorro implementation and procurement reform through USAID support. We developed a technical and business requirement assessment and recommendation for the ProZorro system strengthening and expansion, recommendations for professionalization of the procurement field in Ukraine, and advised the Kyiv City Administration with establishing a Procurement Competence Center for government and business users of ProZorro. MSI also worked to improve monitoring and audits of procurements to reduce fraud and corruption.

 

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In June 2016, MSI conducted a survey of businesses across Ukraine to learn about their experiences using ProZorro. More than 300 businesses participated in the web-based survey. Results show that corruption in public procurements dropped by 25 percent with the use of ProZorro – from corruption occurring in 54% of procurements under the traditional system to 29% under ProZorro. Business confidence in the public procurement system is also on the rise – 27% of respondents believe that the system completely eradicates or largely reduces corruption and 53% believe that it reduces corruption partially. These results are attributable to the improved transparency and simplification of the procurement process using ProZorro.

MSI, in partnership with the ProZorro team at the MEDT and the Kyiv City Administration, will present results of the survey on August 19, 2016 for public and private sector stakeholders, as well for CSOs and the media.

 

                              

 

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Using a Political Economy Framework to Manage Complex Reform Efforts

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MSI’s Advancing Policy and Institutional Change (APIC) framework helps reformers assess political and organizational assets and obstacles for implementing policies, analyze stakeholder interests and concerns, and engage citizens and resolve conflicts through the design of innovative structures and processes.

 

 

MSI has developed a political economy-oriented approach to advancing policy and institutional change (APIC), helping governments and advocacy groups shape and manage complex reform efforts. Originally developed and popularized under the auspices of the USAID-funded Implementing Policy Change Project (IPC), this approach has been applied across a range of sectors in more than 40 countries; extensively documented; and acknowledged by the World Bank and other development actors as a best practice in achieving sustainable policy and institutional change.

This updated APIC framework addresses a perceived “hole” in international development’s new focus on thinking and acting politically. Much political economy thinking is done at the front end in the form of assessments that feed into design, yet it can be difficult to chart a path that responds to key findings. In addition, it has proved difficult in practice to incorporate political economy concepts into implementation. MSI’s APIC framework provides an approach and tools that facilitate on-going analysis of and responses to political context. It also incorporates new research on institutional reform and systems thinking as well as MSI’s own learning from using the approach over time. Key insights include taking a flexible and adaptive approach to reform that responds to changes in the environment and among stakeholders, empowering local systems that foster locally driven and inclusive development, and keeping the framework and tools simple so that they can be used with local stakeholders committed to pursuing reforms.

The APIC framework also broadens the lens from IPC’s strong focus on policy implementation to include policy and reform design, recognizing that these may be absent in many situations. As a result, APIC portrays an expanded number of tasks in a task wheel, which emphasizes the non-linear and interdependent nature of the tasks. This brief guide lays out the framework in summary fashion and is intended for those supporting reforms in a given context. It provides a systematic approach and common vocabulary that can be helpful in sorting through what needs to be done. MSI has used the task model to help stakeholders develop and adapt action plans for whatever stage they are at in a reform process.

Using APIC, MSI provides hands-on technical assistance, training, and process consulting to government offices, civil society groups and public-private partnerships. Our support includes assessing political and organizational assets and obstacles for implementing policies, analyzing stakeholder interests and concerns, and engaging citizens and resolving conflicts through the design of innovative structures and processes.

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BALADI CAP: Strengthening Municipalities to Face Growing Challenges in Lebanon

The Building Alliances for Local Advancement, Development and Investment – Capacity Building (BALADI -CAP) project, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), launched its Civic Engagement for Democratic Governance (CEDG) component during an event held on Thursday July 14, 2106. CEDG is a two-year capacity-building component of the larger BALADI CAP program with a focus on strengthening the institutional capacities of municipalities, primarily in organizational development, financial management, information technology, and disaster management/contingency planning. With a strong emphasis on increased citizen engagement in public policy and decision-making, component activities will assist municipalities to make better decisions and deliver quality public services.

Presidents and representatives of various Lebanese municipalities attend the CEDG Kick-off event

Presidents and representatives of various Lebanese municipalities attend the CEDG Kick-off event

CEDG will work with 35 selected municipalities throughout Lebanon and is in the process of conducting a mapping of the various municipalities in order to identify a geographically diverse pool of municipality partners that will take part in CEDG’s Tailored Technical Assistance Program (TTAP). This mapping exercise will examine the capacity of municipalities to commit to the intensive TTAP capacity-building approach, including the number of full-time employees, municipal council members, active municipal committees, and overall budgets.

The event brought together presidents and municipal council representatives from 15 municipalities across Lebanon in order to provide them with detailed information about the program and gauge their interest in participating. Following introductory visits, a final list of CEDG municipality beneficiaries will be announced and implementation of the benchmark capacity assessments will begin.

BALADI CAP’s Chief of Party, Dr. Fares El Zein, presenting the CEDG component to the attendees

BALADI CAP’s Chief of Party, Dr. Fares El Zein, presenting the CEDG component to the attendees

“We hope one day we become an e-municipality, whereby everything becomes online. This will be a cornerstone to combating corruption, something which has sadly become all too familiar in Lebanon”, said Antoine Abu Younes, Vice President of the Zahle Maalka Municipality.

During his presentation, BALADI CAP’s Chief of Party, Dr. Fares El Zein, stressed the importance of the comprehensive approach the program applies during its interventions, including regular participatory benchmark capacity assessments, standard and specialized training workshops, on-the-job coaching and Community of Practice regional meetings. The tailored technical assistance and follow-up provided by BALADI-CAP’s municipal experts in improving the individual capacity of municipality staff will impact overall institutional performance, while ensuring the institutionalization and sustainability of the acquired skills within municipal institutions.

Captain Marwan Al Aawar, President of Qornayel Municipality, speaking to BALADI CAP’s Senior Communications Specialist, Ahmad Jaber

Captain Marwan Al Aawar, President of Qornayel Municipality, speaking to BALADI CAP’s Senior Communications Specialist, Ahmad Jaber

The presentation was followed by an active Question & Answer session where the attendees raised concerns and voiced challenges that they face at the municipal level, including those municipalities which are hosting a high concentration of Syrian refugees and the resulting impact on service delivery, resource management and security concerns. “Resource management is the single most important element to bring our municipality into the 21st century”, said Captain Marwan Al Aaawar, President of the Municipality of Qornayel. “We have invested in 25 young men and women by providing them with the necessary training and courses to become active members of the local police force, firefighters, etc.”

The discussion allowed for the exchange of information between municipalities and an overall consensus on the importance of CEDG in tackling these priority cross-cutting issues.

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Project Highlight: BALADI CAP

The USAID-funded BALADI CAP program (Building Alliances for Local Advancement, Development and Investment – Capacity Building) provides capacity-building assistance to more than 50 CSO partners in Lebanon, with primary emphasis on internal governance, financial management and M&E.

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Evidence-based Research on Corruption Impacts Supports Policy Reforms

Vietnam-Anti-Corruption-Research-Symposium-370x298 MSI’s three-year anti-corruption project in Vietnam has supported rigorous quantitative research into the costs of corruption with the goal of influencing policy reform by the government. The research – undertaken by Vietnamese think tanks and university – has stimulated public debate and helped government policymakers target corruption risks through new regulations to reduce corruption’s negative impacts on economic and social development. The project was funded by the UK’s Department for International Development.

Researchers produced seven peer-reviewed papers. These focused on the detrimental effect of corruption on national economic growth and on private sector investment, employment, and per capita income at the provincial level. They also included research into corruption risks in Vietnam’s large household business sector and into the effects of petty corruption on innovation.

The last study analyzed the problem in a different way, by examining the benefits of anti-corruption programming for development, especially for low and low-to-middle income countries. Rather than exploring the costs of corruption, this paper looks at the inverse relationship: the benefits that a country can accrue by effectively implementing anti-corruption programming. The study finds that strong implementation of anti-corruption initiatives is more important to achieving social, political, economic and human development benefits for society than merely establishing a good legal-institutional framework to fight corruption. Most interestingly, the study finds that a country’s level of development and wealth has little to do with its level of anti-corruption programming. Thus, it is not a good excuse for Vietnam or other developing countries to point to their level of development or wealth as a reason for why they are lagging behind in implementing anti-corruption reforms effectively. A country’s wealth is not a predictor of progress or success in this area.

All of these papers are included in a thematic issue of a major international academic journal on corruption issues, Crime, Law and Social Change (Vol. 65, no. 4-5, June 2016). The articles are available on the publisher’s website.

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