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What is meant by country context?

While it is unlikely that a procurement assessment would focus only on the country context tier, it is recommended that any procurement assessment include the context as appropriate according to the scale and scope.


Procurement systems are not static and do not exist in a vacuum. While there are generally accepted principles for what constitutes "good" public procurement, a procurement system operates within a complex web of governance and public sector, society, local, national, regional and global markets. These factors influence the procurement system and changes in the system will influence them. The following points are aspects of the country context:

  • The strength of society, state and the economy
  • Formal and informal institutions
  • Stakeholder interests and politics.

Download the file "Examples of options to address procurement challenges" to support your work.


Procurement challenges related to country context

  • Co-ordination between procurement authorities and other parts of government. 
  • Accountability and feedback mechanisms.
  • Corruption in procurement (including bribery, favouritism, patronage systems and bid rigging).
  • Political interference in procurement processes.
  • Implementation of "international standards" in challenging environments.
  • Social and ethical norms relating to family and kin that command stronger loyalty and respect than for the state and formal laws and regulations.
  • Lack of "political will" which can be the result of vested interests or lack of prioritisation can influence reform.
  • Conditions of service and remuneration.



Assessing the country context

There are a number of tools and approaches that can be adapted to conduct an assessment of the country context. There are three different categories of approaches:

  • Country/macro level analysis (overall governance conditions)
  • Sector level analysis (incentives/constraints in a particular sector)
  • Problem-driven analysis (focused on a particular problem)

Key principles for assessing country context:

  • Should be led by country actors (endogenous)
  • A proposed transformation will be met with resistance
  • Incremental change is sometimes the way forward
  • Timing is important
  • Objectives should be scaled to fit the level of incentives and capabilities
  • Leadership and management must participate in the assessment process



Tools for context and country level analysis are included below.


See the file collection for all resources in this toolkit.



Examples of Options to Address Procurement Challenges

Political Economy Analysis - How To Note

How to assess change readiness

Applying the Principles for Good International Engagement in Fragile States and Situations to Strengthen and Transform Public Procurement Systems

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