Kenya is leading the way in Sub-Saharan Africa in its quest to champion for reforms in public contracting, for example with the launch of an open data portal and an e-procurement system to improve transparency in government operations. The Public Procurement Oversight Authority has also been created to monitor and oversee public procurement for compliance with the law.
The country has further bolstered its reforms by recently enacting the Access to Information law, which provides an enabling framework to support open contracting processes.
However, these commitments are still largely on paper owing to institutional challenges such as such as the corruption and wastage of public resources that lead to poor public service delivery.
This is one of the many reasons why Hivos East Africa is leading civil society organisations to advocate for disclosure of public contracts. Through its Open Contracting Campaign, the hub is fast-tracking civil society commitments in pushing for the use of open contracting standards in public institutions discussed at agreed at the Open Contracting conference held last October in Spain.
The Open Contracting Campaign held its first inaugural workshop in Naivasha from 14-15 November 2016 to kick-start its national action planning processes for 2017. Experts from civil society gathered at this forum to give valuable input to the approach and proposed activities that will contribute to making key institutional changes for the proactive disclosure of data relevant to public contracts.
Participants recognized there is a need to increase the capacity and engagement of civil society, media and private sector to understand and analyse contract information and data.
Some of the key discussions revolved around coordinated engagements, evidence based approaches, protection of whistle blowers, storytelling, lobbying and advocacy and the country’s gains in the fight against corruption.
The Open Contracting Campaign is looking to adopt a co-design and co-implementation approach to its programming. This approach will ensure that the campaign engages relevantly, in line with stakeholder experiences .Two more similar planning meetings have also been scheduled for Malawi and Tanzania.
The Open Contracting Campaign seeks to support the improvement of the integrity, fairness, competitiveness and effectiveness of the public contracting cycle. This will in turn improve service delivery to Kenyans, boost economic growth, promote an increasingly vibrant private sector and contribute to poverty reduction in Kenya.
Hivos East Africa’s transparency and accountability portfolio has a rich history in investing in innovative initiatives that empower citizens to demand for good governance.
We believe with free exchange of information and freedom of expression, citizens have the ability to influence decisions that affect their lives.