In Kenya, the performance of public contracts has, for decades, dominated public debate on financial accountability. Civic engagement in public contract processes has been sporadic or limited in scope reflecting constraints in opportunity and capacity.

It is estimated that 60% of the government’s expenditure is used for the procurement of goods, works and services and that public procurement accounts for 11% of Kenya’s Gross Domestic Product. However information on procurement and public contracts in public institutions is shrouded in secrecy despite the enactment of the new constitution that provides for freedom of information. Further, the country lacks a common framework for monitoring government/ public contracts reducing the impact of monitoring. This monitoring is necessary to ensure satisfactory completion of all of the functions, activities and services that have been negotiated to be delivered for the public benefit. Therefore, there is growing recognition that contract monitoring can serve an effective oversight function in controlling fraud and corruption in public service delivery and utilization of public resources.

The success of public projects are determined by a well defined contractual process of competitive bidding that seeks to protect the public against embezzlement  of public funds and prevents abuses such as fraud, favoritism and extravagance. Public contracting therefore continues to be an integral part of public expenditure and draw attention from civil society, the private sector and other stakeholders due to susceptibility to corruption and poor service delivery.

With this in mind, World Bank Institute and the World Bank Africa Region hosted trainings and/or action planning meetings on contract monitoring as a whole. These meetings brought together experts from Government, business and civil society to collectively explore options for strengthening contracting processes in key public sectors. There were also specific references to pharmaceutical procurement. The events laid the foundation for what is envisioned to be a 2-3 year program to help improve transparency and accountability in contracting processes in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Zambia. One of the key outcomes of the meeting was the establishment of a national multi stakeholder group to spearhead contract monitoring and ensuring proper service delivery.

TI Kenya was nominated as the contract monitoring regional convener for the five countries and has since steered the establishment of Contract Monitoring Kenya Network (CMKN), a multi-stakeholder group bringing together different partners with the objective of working together for transparent and effective management of public resources and service delivery for Kenya. The network seeks to monitor public contracts in Kenya, with initial reference to four key sectors of public service including, education, water, construction industry (particularly in roads/transport infrastructure) and health (mainly in pharmaceuticals
TI Kenya is similarly a national convener for the Forum for Transparency and Accountability in Pharmaceutical Procurement (FoTAPP) whose objective is to enhance Transparency and Accountability in Pharmaceutical Procurement. The group equally brings together different stakeholders with interest in pharmaceutical procurement. FoTAPP spearheads monitoring of procurement of health commodities in the heath sector component of CMKN.

For more information visit the Contract Monitoring Kenya Network website