IFAD’s Online Project Procurement End-To-End System (IFAD OPEN): a system that promotes transparency, competition and value for money.
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is an international financial institution (IFI) and a specialized agency of the United Nations dedicated to eradicating poverty and hunger in rural areas of developing countries. IFAD is also the only specialized global development organization exclusively focused on transforming agriculture, rural economies and food systems. IFAD funds initiatives that improve land and water management, build rural infrastructure, train and educate farmers in more efficient technologies, build up resilience against climate change and enhance the accessibility of rural markets.
For each IFAD initiative, goods, works and services need to be procured for the project to be implemented; and every year, the value of such procurements runs in to millions of dollars’ worth of expenditure. This includes anything from IT equipment to fertilizers; from livestock to cement for the construction of small irrigation schemes. The procurement itself is carried out by the recipients of IFAD financing (generally governments), who are required to follow IFAD’s Project Procurement Guidelines. IFAD oversees procurement activities in each country where it operates to ensure they are conducted in a sound and efficient manner, and that IFAD funding is used for its intended purpose. The successful and timely implementation of IFAD’s development projects is closely tied to effective procurement oversight, which is why the Fund strives to ensure that each IFAD-financed procurement process respects the principles of fairness, integrity and transparency through competition.
IFAD’s new Online Procurement End-to-End system (OPEN) is now rolled out to its recipients!
Until now, much of the tracking of procurement activities performed by the recipients of IFAD financing was based on complex spreadsheets which required manual updating – and, as such, project procurement plans were therefore only available as offline documents, meaning that they were frequently inconsistent with the real-time state of implementation and could not be linked to any online systems. This weighed heavily on the administrative processes of IFAD-financed projects and on all IFAD staff and consultants involved, as it required significant effort to track procurement activities across different fragmented IT systems and offline templates.
To address these issues, IFAD decided to develop a new online system that would automate and manage procurement reporting throughout the procurement cycle (“from end to end”) – that is, from procurement planning to contract management. And, as a result, the new Online Procurement End-to-End System - or IFAD OPEN - has just been launched.
IFAD OPEN increases the efficiency of procurement teams by automating what were once manual processes and bringing together previously fragmented IT systems and offline templates. The system incorporates built-in guidance for users on how to conduct each procurement activity from start to finish and increases the transparency and efficiency over the procurement processes of IFAD-financed projects.
The system has already been deployed in over 80 IFAD financed projects in the Latin America and the Caribbean region, and West and Central Africa region; and is currently being rolled out to all of IFAD’s operations in the East and Southern Africa region.
With this achievement, IFAD has taken a major step towards sustainable and more efficient procurement processes, while also providing IFAD-financed projects with unprecedented end-to-end visibility of their own implementation progress and potential bottlenecks thanks to the system’s powerful analytics. IFAD continues to lead in the promotion of transparency in public procurement by publishing all upcoming procurement activities of its projects publicly and automatically in the form of a General Procurement Notice.
United Nations Development Business connects consultants, contractors, and suppliers to development projects worldwide by organizing procurement information to make it easily accessible and useful. It provides its members with access to more than US$90 billion worth of contracting opportunities in international development projects, financed by multilateral development banks, aid agencies, government organizations, IFIs, and some United Nations entities – including IFAD. UNDB aggregates procurement information from these sources and publishes a wide variety of procurement notices and contract awards. The advanced search features and e-mail alerts facilitate UNDB subscribers’ timely and effortless access to business leads in one official platform (https://devbusiness.un.org).