World Bank Procurement

AuthorAlison Micheli
Chapter 11
World Bank Procurement
Alison Micheli*
I. Executive Summary
Established in 1944 to facilitate post-war reconstruction and development, the World
Bank is a global development cooperative owned by the governments of its 188 member
countries.1 This intergovernmental organization is the world’s largest development bank, with an
overarching mission of poverty reduction anchored by the twin goals of ending extreme poverty
and promoting shared prosperity in a sustainable manner by 2030. The World Bank Group
consists of five organizations: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development
(IBRD), the International Development Association (IDA), the International Finance
Corporation (IFC), the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), and the International
Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Together, IBRD and IDA make up the
World Bank. In FY 2017, the World Bank provided lending commitments approximating $22.6
billion to IBRD member countries and $19.5 billion to IDA in support of investment projects
intended to pursue each organization’s respective goals.
This chapter summarizes the procurement rules and procedures that apply to World
Bank-financed investment projects. The World Bank procurement regime applies internationally
recognized procurement rules and promotes the use of standardized bidding documents and
contract forms in order to level the playing field and facilitate participation of international
contractors. Nevertheless, contractors should recognize that the World Bank is first and foremost
a development institution, and World Bank-financed procurements remain the ultimate
responsibility of individual World Bank member country borrowers (Borrowers). For this reason,
World Bank procurements continue to be subject to the practical realities of each procuring
entity’s unique systems and requirements. Interested contractors should actively identify
potential opportunities through the World Bank but are well advised to carefully review and
become familiar with the World Bank procurement policies and procedures as well as the
applicable local requirements and realities in the Borrower’s country.
II. Substantive Rules Governing World Bank Procurement
The World Bank’s procurement rules emanate from its Articles of Agreement. These
Articles require that the World Bank “make arrangements to ensure that the proceeds of an y loan
are used only for the purposes for which the loan was granted with due attention to
considerations of economy, efficiency and competitive international trade and without regard to
political or other non-economic influences or considerations.”2 The Articles further provide that
the Borrower may withdraw loan proceeds “only to meet expenditures made in connection with
the operation as they are actuall y incurred.”3
The World Bank’s rules were originally devised for large-scale, standalone infrastructure
projects. They have gradually evolved since the World Bank’s founding, taking into account
changes in the World Bank’s operations and development priorities and conditions in member
countries. Recently, however, the World Bank’s procurement framework underwent an extensive
and far-reaching reform, culminating in a new procurement framework that became effective
July 1, 2016. Accordingly, this chapter will discuss World Bank procurement in the context of
dual procurement regimes, one long-standing and well established and the other largely untested
in practice but informed by the World Bank’s many years of experience.

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