Embracing Open Contracting in Africa: Case Studies from Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, Zambia, South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal and Cote d’Ivoire

Governments worldwide spend an estimated US$ 10 trillion on public contracting. It is a major part of any economy - up to 30 percent in developing countries. According to the World Bank, public procurement accounts for nearly 15 percent of GDP per capita in sub-Sahara Africa (SSA). Contracting is an essential step in delivering goods and services that people care about: quality education, quality health care, safe roads and clean drinking water. Public procurement is a controversial subject in both developed and developing countries due to various reasons such as corruption. Some forms of corruption are more prevalent in certain countries, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Corruption in public procurement is manifested in unnecessary projects, substandard and unnecessarily expensive work, the diversion of resources, and unjustified and unexpected price increases resulting in inequity and inequality. This has been exacerbated by the absence of appropriate accountability mechanisms to ensure targeted funding of essential services such as education, health and transport. Ghost funding and poor service delivery have been the trend in many African countries and yet there have been efforts across Africa to open up contracting.