SUSTAINABLE PUBLIC PROCUREMENT : Equipping public procurement professionals from West and Central Africa

The concept of sustainable public procurement extends selection criteria to include environmental, social and economic aspects. Integrating these principles into public procurement processes has become a priority, as demonstrated by the initiative to train public procurement specialists in these practices.

Today, with the concept of sustainable public procurement, selection criteria go beyond simply seeking the best value for money. It is against this backdrop that a training course on sustainable public procurement was held yesterday in Dakar. It was aimed at public procurement specialists from regulatory and oversight bodies, as well as representatives of World Bank project implementation agencies in West and Central Africa. “Sustainable public procurement is now a strategic concept aimed at integrating economic, social and environmental considerations into the life cycle of public contracts”, said Saër Niang, Director General of Senegal’s Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (Arcop), at the opening of the training course. He added that sustainable public procurement offers enormous advantages and is in line with the sustainable development goals, which aim to “end extreme poverty and stimulate prosperity on a liveable planet”, and welcomed the fact that Senegal’s Public Procurement Code enshrines sustainable public procurement, which is based on three pillars: economic, social and environmental.

The economic pillar guarantees privileged access to public procurement for small and medium sized enterprises and players in the circular economy; the social pillar facilitates access to employment for vulnerable groups such as women and young people; the environmental pillar focuses on standards to be integrated into all essential aspects of sustainable public procurement, in
particular by favouring eco-responsible goods and services, limiting waste and encouraging the circular economy. Sustainable public procurement also stimulates innovation by encouraging businesses to develop sustainable products and services.

According to Open Contracting, public procurement in West Africa accounts for around 11.5% of the gross domestic product of the countries in the sub-region, representing some $80 billion spent each year on goods, services and works. “Spent wisely, sustainable public procurement represents an
important economic lever for ensuring social well-being and sustainable economic growth”, said Pierre Xavier Bonneau, Director of Operations for the World Bank in Senegal, asserting that sustainable public procurement transcends the idea of a mere slogan or fashionable concept. “They are becoming a key principle of governance”, he insisted, adding that the World Bank has incorporated this reality into its renewed vision. .

The aim of this training course is to help public procurement specialists gain an in-depth understanding of the key concepts of sustainable development and their application in the context of public procurement. The aim is to equip them with the skills they need to identify, integrate and evaluate relevant environmental, social and economic criteria in procurement procedures. In this way, they will be able to implement sustainable purchasing practices throughout the purchasing cycle, from the definition of needs to the execution of the contract.

This training course is a joint initiative of the World Bank and Senegal’s Public Procurement Regulatory Authority. Both institutions believe that integrating the principles of sustainable public procurement  into the purchasing processes of public entities can contribute to “a more prosperous and sustainable  future for all”.

Mamadou GUÈYE