The Inter-American Development Bank will host an international seminar on February 21-22 on the use of information technology in government procurement as a means to gain savings, efficiency and transparency in Latin American and Caribbean countries’ public sectors.
The conference, which will take place at IDB headquarters in Washington, DC, will offer some 250 participants a global overview of recent experiences and potential developments in "e-government procurement" in public administrations at national, subnational and municipal levels.
Experts from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Mexico, the United Kingdom and the United States will address the meeting, which will bring together government officials from Latin America and the Caribbean and participants from the private sector, multilateral agencies and transparency advocacy organizations.
IDB Executive Vice President K. Burke Dillon is scheduled to open the meeting at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, February 21. Peruvian Prime Minister Roberto Dañino will be the keynote speaker at Thursday’s luncheon. IDB President Enrique V. Iglesias will deliver closing remarks at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, February 22.
In the IDB’s view, a strategic application of information technologies can help transform government management and services and achieve significant savings of public resources, encourage competition in the private sector, foster the development of small- and medium-size enterprises as state suppliers and thwart corruption.
On average, Latin American and Caribbean countries spend 10 percent of their gross domestic product on state contracts and purchases. Were they to achieve savings of about 10 percent on their procurement using e-government technologies, countries in the region could free up some $20 billion a year to invest in poverty-reduction programs such as education and health.
Based on lessons learned and recommendations stemming from this conference organized by its Regional Operations Support Office and its Sustainable Development Department, the IDB expects to identify opportunities to help member countries implement e-government procurement systems as an instrument to modernize their public sectors.
In that sense, the IDB today signed a letter of intent with the state of Western Australia to cooperate in the introduction of new technologies to improve public sector procurement in Latin American and Caribbean countries. Western Australia is widely recognized as a global leader in the development and application of e-government technologies.