The Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) has launched a unified website with the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) that is designed to promote the adoption of electronic government procurement (e-GP) in Latin America and the Caribbean as well as among developing countries around the world.
E-GP is the use of electronic information technology, especially the Internet, by governments in conducting their procurement relationships with suppliers for the acquisition of works, goods and consulting services required by the public sector. This technology breaks down the physical barriers of space and time and allows a speedier information flow and wider access to information and services.
E-GP has an impact on public sector performance in terms of efficiency, effectiveness and getting value for money. It enhances public sector accountability through transparency, relevance and the building of confidence. In terms of economic development, e-GP leads to greater competitiveness, business activity, opportunity and job creation.
The website at www.mdb-egp.org will provide countries and agencies with a road map, strategic planning guide, readiness assessment and an interactive database that, among other tools, will serve as a virtual assistant in developing e-GP, which could save Latin America and the Caribbean up to US$20bn annually in procurement costs if fully applied.
The site will also offer examples of best practices in e-GP from countries around the world.
The IADB, World Bank and ADB are pooling resources and technical expertise by launching and maintaining the identical website to ensure the maximum potential impact of promoting e-GP through full international harmonisation.
“This is one more step on the long road to sharpening competitiveness in Latin America and the Caribbean,” comments IADB president Enrique Iglesias. “Up to now very few countries and agencies in our region have taken full advantage of the opportunities of electronic government procurement. With the launching of the new website, they will be able to benefit from worldwide experience in this sector and have a guide to applying up-to-date technology to enhance procurement practices. For a relatively small investment, electronic procurement can result in substantial savings.”
The IADB raised the equivalent of US$7.2bn in net proceeds in international capital markets during 2003. This amount ensured a sound level of liquidity to meet the evolving needs of its lending programme for the development of Latin America and the Caribbean.
Strong investor interest generated demand for high quality bonds that enabled the Bank to accelerate its funding programme during the first half of 2003. By advancing the funding programme, the bank not only met the needs of investors but it also secured more favourable funding costs in 2003 compared with the prior year due to favourable market conditions.
Two strategic, global benchmark bonds were successfully launched in the first semester of 2003. In January, the bank issued a US$2bn bond with a 3.375% coupon maturing in March 2008. In June, the bank launched a US$1bn bond with a 3.50% coupon maturing in July 2013. Both issues met with strong international demand.
The IADB has maintained a triple-A credit rating from both Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s ever since its first bond issue in 1962. This high quality rating enables the bank to offer long-term development loans to Latin America and Caribbean countries at attractive interest rates.
The bank accessed a range of markets, currencies and investors during 2003.
Investor demand from Asia was especially strong and that region accounted for 83.5% of IADB bond purchases in 2003 compared with 57% in 2002. The remaining 2003 geographical distribution of IADB bonds was 8.5% to Europe and the Middle East and 8% to the Americas. The rise in Asian participation is attributed to increased demand from Japanese retail investors that were seeking high quality bonds. The IADB floated various bonds denominated in Australian dollars, Canadian dollars, British pounds sterling, New Zealand dollars and US dollars targeted exclusively to Japanese retail investors.
To tap retail investor interest in Europe, the bank launched a bond denominated in Hungarian forints, and the issue was reopened later in the year due to additional demand.
Retail investors have played an increasingly important role to IADB and accounted for more than half of the bank’s total distribution of bond issues in 2003. Institutional investor participation declined to 43% from 67% in 2002. However, institutional investors continued to play a dominant and important role in the IADB’s strategic, global benchmark bonds.
The US dollar continued to be the chief currency for operations both before and after swaps, but the bank also diversified its funding opportunities by borrowing in a broad range of currencies.
The bank exercised its option to terminate early 16 of its bond issues in currencies that included euros, Japanese yen, Taiwan dollars and US dollars for a total of US$1.1bn. By redeeming these bonds earlier than the final maturity date, the bank reduced its borrowing costs in upcoming years.
The bank’s board of executive directors has approved a borrowing authorisation of US$8bn-US$10bn in face value with the expectation of net proceeds of around US$6bn. The interest rate composition of bank’s bond issues during 2004, after swaps, will continue to be a mixture of fixed and floating rates. The bank expects to issue in a broad range of currencies in various formats, including benchmark global transactions, in accordance with its funding needs, investor demand and market conditions.