ADB reforms procurement process to ‘work smarter’

By Lean Alfred Santos 10 October 2014

Sean O’Sullivan, director general of Asian Development Bank’s operations services and financial management department. How will procurement reform at the Manila-based financial institution affect its member countries and implementing partners? Photo by: ADB / CC BY-NC-ND

To adapt to the changing development landscape, the Asian Development Bank recently embarked on a reform of its procurement process — a move that is expected to allow the multilateral institution to “work smarter,” and not just harder.

Sean O’Sullivan, director general of ADB’s operations services and financial management department, told Devex the reforms aim to achieve three main objectives: reduce the length of the procurement process, increase administrative efficiency and improve project delivery — all while maintaining oversight responsibility.

“One of the key things [in the reforms] is we want the right people to do the [projects]. Second is we really want to reduce the time it takes to do the procurement,” the ADB official said. “It’s not that we’re necessarily slow, but we can actually do things quite quickly.”

On average, it takes about a year to award contracts for major projects and about the same length of time to acquire the services of consultants. The goal, O’Sullivan explained, is to cut that down by half to achieve results faster and make development more real-time.

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About the author

Lean 2
Lean Alfred Santos@DevexLeanAS

Lean Alfred Santos is a Devex development reporter focusing on the development community in Asia-Pacific, including major players such as the Asian Development Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Prior to joining Devex, he covered Philippine and international business and economic news, sports and politics. Lean is based in Manila.

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