IILJ Working Paper 2006/3 (Global Administrative Law Series)

Development Partners and Governance of Public Procurement in Kenya: Enhancing Democracy in the Administration of Aid

J.M. Migai Akech

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Aid donors have moved away from stand-alone projects in favor of “Sector Wide Approaches” (SWAps) to development assistance, which encourages local “ownership” and coherence. SWAps constitute “regulatory networks” of governmental officials which determine how development assistance funds are utilized. But the SWAp regulatory structures typically bypass national public accounting and procurement systems, on the ground that these are ineffective and corrupt. The donors thus operate parallel procurement systems within the country, rather than helping directly to build robust public accounting and government procurement capacity in the developing country. Donor procurement systems provide good accountability back to London or Paris, but not to the people of the recipient country. This paper reviews Kenya’s first SWAp aid program, the Governance, Justice, Law and Order Sector (GJLOS) Reform Program, and its procurement regime. The paper advances two principal arguments. First, SWAps such as the GJLOS Program should be subject to national (Kenyan) administrative law frameworks. Second, the GJLOS Program’s separate procurement regime is inefficient and unlikely to be effective.