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.