Developing Capacity to Manage Public Funds

Some of the lecturers at these Iraqi universities have already adapted their curriculum and integrated procurement into existing academic programs. These include Angham Ezzulddin Ali Alsaffar, Professor of Civil Engineering at Baghdad University, who said the training course in Nanterre was proving useful for her and her students.

Another university teacher, Ahmed Saydok, Director of Continuous Education at Salahaddin University in Erbil, had spearheaded the launch of new summer courses. “The bottom line is that the students are the raw material,” he said. “You can mold them as you want.”

This program did not emerge in a vacuum: It arose from prolonged engagement with the Bank, which sought to find solutions to fit Iraq’s specific context. When discussions first began, its government agreed to build the skills of procurement personnel. “We set the building blocks in a program that was rolled out over three years,” said Hamed Ahmed, Manager of Monitoring and Coordination at the PCD.

In 2013, a procurement needs assessment was conducted. One of its key points was the vast scale of the needs—there were thousands of government officials and stakeholders involved in procurement on a regular basis with little training on how to do so. But the ability to reach them was limited.

This capacity building program aims to address exactly that: By working with university teachers and students, the initiative is forward-looking, seeking to equip a future Iraq with procurement skills. It implicitly recognizes Iraq will need massive investment in infrastructure for water, transport and energy, and, therefore, a public sector capable of managing and executing this.

(Source: World Bank)

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