Understanding the Project Cycle

World Bank-funded projects generate thousands of sales and contract opportunities for suppliers of many different goods and services.  These WB procurements are executed in three very distinct manners depending on the phase of the project cycle in which they are conducted.  Understanding this breakdown is important context from which to explore these bidding opportunities, develop the appropriate strategy, and know the applicable procurement rules and policies.  The following section summarizes these procurement sources.  To schedule a training program for your company, visit our services page.

Operational Procurement

“Operational Procurement” refers to procurements conducted by borrowing governments (and their respective implementing government agencies) with the loans or credits received from the World Bank.  In FY2007, the World Bank committed a combined total of $24.7 billion in loans and credits ($18.3 billion in “Investment Lending” for specific projects) to its borrowing client governments.  When a government enters into a loan agreement with the World Bank for a given Investment Loan, the borrowing government is responsible for implementation of that project, but it must agree to comply with the World Bank’s procurement guidelines and ensure that the money will be used for its intended purpose.  There are two separate procurement guidelines: one for the procurement of goods, civil works and services, and another for the procurement of consultant services.  Here are some features and characteristics of operational procurement:

  • Includes a broad range of consulting services, goods and civil works.
  • These procurements are executed by the borrowing governments with the World Bank providing a supervisory “no objection” to ensure compliance with its procurement rules, procedures and policies.  This supervisory role is referred to as “Prior Review,” and the World Bank only conducts Prior Review if a procurement exceeds previously established dollar thresholds. 
  • Borrowers must use WB standard bidding documents.
  • Identify Internationally Competitive Bid (ICB) tenders or Requests for Expression of Interest (REIs) which allow for international competition. 

World Bank-executed Procurement of Consulting Services

This refers to procurements of consultants—both firms and individuals—typically for discrete project preparation tasks in the support of the WB’s operational lending. 

  • Consulting assignments include but are not limited to sector studies, master plans, feasibility studies, engineering and design studies, specialist or technical studies, needs assessments, regulatory analysis, etc.
  • Procurements selections are made by the World Bank, itself, typically the project coordinator, referred to as the Task Team Leader.
  • These consulting assignments (except for individual consultants) are transacted on “e-Consultant”—a secure, web-based consultant selection tool
  • Registration on e-Consultant is free.  In order to create your firm’s online profile and survey bid opportunities, visit e-Consultant at: http://www.worldbank.org/wbgeconsultant
  • World Bank Task Team Leaders can appoint/retain an individual consultant based on the comparison of three qualified CVs 

World Bank Corporate Procurement

This refers to procurements of goods and services conducted by the World Bank Group for the institution itself for its own internal requirements.

  • Procurements are executed and administered by the WB’s Corporate Procurement Unit as part of an internal WB project team
  • The World Bank Group procures approximately $700 million each year, which includes goods, services and Bank-executed consulting assignments
  • Visit the “Vendor Kiosk” to view advertised bidding opportunities above $200k and to gather information on the procurement procedures
  • Visit the Vendor Kiosk at: http://www.worldbank.org/corporateprocurement

For information on WB procurement processes from the perspective of a company wishing to pursue international business opportunities through the WB, consult the Guide to Business Opportunities (A Resource Guide to Consulting, Supply and Contracting Opportunities in Projects financed by the World Bank).

The U.S. Business Liaisons are U.S. Department of Commerce officials and an integral part of U.S. Government representation to the World Bank.  They can assist U.S. companies to identify and successfully navigate this procurement system in order to bid on World Bank-generated procurement opportunities.