Interactive: How does AfDB work with local African contractors?

For more insight and to explore an interactive database of African contractors to the AfDB, visit our Tableau dashboards.

The importance of including local stakeholders in the ownership, design, direction, and implementation of development projects has become increasingly accepted, with donors acknowledging that a participatory approach generates more sustainable outcomes. This is also true of the African Development Bank, with the idea of local inclusivity becoming central to its procurement market.

So far in our AfDB Contractor Insights series, the Devex team has analyzed 16 years of AfDB contract awards data to see what it can tell us about doing business with the bank. We’ve also analyzed the prolific role of Asian contractors — particularly firms from China — in its work.

In this final article of the series, we’ll dive into the data once more to see how AfDB works with local African organizations from its regional member countries (RMCs). This line of analysis raises interesting questions: how much AfDB funding is being awarded to African firms, and how has this changed over time? For what kinds of projects, and where? The answers to these questions will be valuable to implementers and potential partners alike, in an Africa that is increasingly able to take the reins of its own development.

AfDB’s approach to local capacity development

In 2015 the AfDB updated its procurement framework extensively, refocusing on the idea of achieving “value for money” and rededicating itself to principles of “economy, efficiency, effectiveness, and equity” in its procurement activities. One update to this framework had important capacity development implications: the AfDB would now seek to rely on the procurement systems of its RMCs when procuring works, goods, and services for projects in those countries. The bank believes this focus to be “essential to sustained and effective development,” although it will only use local procurement systems where they are “acceptable” to the bank’s own standards. Many of the AfDB’s more recent Country Strategy Papers include evaluations of these local procurement systems, and plans for improving them.

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About the author

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    Matthew Wolf

    Matthew Wolf works with Devex's Development Data team in Barcelona, helping improve our coverage of and insight into development work and funding around the world. He draws on work experience with Thomson Reuters in Africa, MENA and Latin America, where he helped uncover, pursue and win opportunities with local governments and donor agencies. He is interested in data-driven solutions to development challenges.