International Development Procurement:
The Need for a Strategic Approach

June 2021

by Chris Gunn, Associate Director at ArcBlue

Why is strategic procurement so important for International Development?

International development funding (pre-COVID-19) continued to climb to a new peak in 2019 of over US$150 billion1.

Whilst around 25% of the funds went to the poorest 26 countries, the share of funds going to middle-income countries has increased2, reflecting the long-term trend in developing country incomes, amongst other factors.

Multilateral Development Banks and other development organisations face the triple challenge of:

  • Increasing project spending in a competitive lending environment
  • Demands for improved project delivery
  • Addressing the different needs of poor countries and those moving into middle-income status.

These challenges demand a new fit-for-purpose and strategic approach to procurement to improve effectiveness and efficiency of procurement in development projects.

ArcBlue recently helped a Multilateral Development Bank to reform its project procurement, helping it to transition from a transactional to a strategic procurement approach.

We helped the Bank:

  • Develop a suite of guides on best practice procurement
  • Assess procurement capability of their staff
  • Design a learning program for the Bank and its Developing Member Countries.

We developed and implemented a change management program designed to change the mindset on procurement within the Bank and to underpin the roll-out of the reform.

Changes to procurement processes in response to COVID-19 have provided a potential path towards more efficient & effective procurement in International Development. We look forward to taking these lessons from COVID-19 and supporting International Development to craft a strategic fit-for-purpose and flexible procurement approach which can more effectively meet this and other key challenges facing the sector.


Would you like to find out more about our work with the International Development sector? Visit our International Development page or reach out to Chris Gunn at chris.gunn@arcblue.com.au for more information on our experience & how we can help.




2 Center for Global Development, December 2020

Related Services

ArcBlue supports organisations to improve the practice of procurement in the delivery of development projects. Our team provides support ranging from sweeping strategic organisational procurement reform, to procurement risk assessment, planning and implementation support, to procurement capability and training of agencies within developing countries.

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