Africa Freedom of Information Centre, in partnership with Hivos East Africa, held the Africa Local Open Contracting Initiative (LOCI) Regional Workshop in Arusha, Tanzania on the 26th of November 2019. The Local Open Contracting initiatives (LOCI) is a global linking and learning mechanism for sub-national, local, and city-level Open Contracting (OC) initiatives and reforms that aims to achieve better public service delivery at the local level. Because it is at the local level where procurement reforms benefit people most directly and in ways that matter to them most through peer learning, evidence and practical guidance.
Open contracting (OC) is “about publishing and using open, accessible and timely information on government contracting to engage citizens and businesses in identifying and fixing problems.” As a process, open contracting is a commitment by data holders (often governments) to engage a variety of stakeholders, including citizens and the private sector, in meaningful discussion about procurement performance. It requires publication of procurement data in an open and structured format, such as the Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS), to enable dialogue and data use by independent parties.
The LOCI works with champions and reformers in government, civil society and the private sector to implement ambitious local OC initiatives. The overall goal is to support actors striving to make public contracting more efficient, transparent and accountable to deliver better public goods and services, save money and create a level play-field with fair competition for the private sector.
‘’It’s not just about combating corruption, it’s also about getting the money back to the people where it belongs.’’
What is essential for the success of implementing open contracting at the local level is the inclusion of active citizens and progressive local governments. No good initiative will work unless we work together with others. AFIC, Hivos and the other LOCI partners focus on making sure that the push for better public service delivery is demand-driven. And when public services improve and become more open, AFIC and its partners can help to amplify these successes.
Members were able to share various country perspectives on open contracting through experiences, challenges, lessons and success stories from, civil society, government and the private sector. This regional workshop attracted participants from Malawi, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
During the regional workshop, members focused on Building up Partnerships and sustaining political & policy buy-in around Open Contracting locally, strategizing for the next Global LOCI meeting and consensus-building on the 12th East African Public Procurement Forum resolutions advancing Open Contracting and inclusion of sub-national voices and experiences.