General procurement principles

The bidding process is under the sole responsibility of the project owner. It is conducted in compliance with local regulations and international good practices. No legal relationship may exist between AFD and any person whatsoever, other than with the project owner that benefits from its financing. However, in order to ensure that its financing is used for authorized purposes, AFD is particularly vigilant about compliance with the principles of transparency and opening to competition. It requires all project stakeholders to have the highest standards in terms of ethics and social and environmental responsibility.
AFD consequently provides project owners with model documents and conducts controls, under the principle of subsidiarity, to ensure that the procurement process runs smoothly.

► Consult the Guidelines for the Procurement of AFD-Financed Contracts in Foreign Countries 

Competition and eligibility

  • Competition and transparency

AFD requires the project owner to apply the principle of an extensive bidding process in order to select the most economically advantageous bid. Information given to potential suppliers, pre-selection, the content and publication of bidding documents, bid appraisals and contract awards must all be fully transparent, in line with the relevant internationally recognized practices that are recommended by the OECD.

Find out more about the good practices recommended by the OECD

The open bidding procedure (with or without pre-qualification) is the most recommended practice for awarding a contract for works or supplies. For contracts for intellectual services, the practice of restricted bidding is considered to be the most appropriate.
Mutual agreement contracts are generally not accepted by AFD. Exemptions to the principle of calls for tender may only be made on an exceptional basis; they must be evidence-based and provided for under national regulations. 

  • Untying aid

All financing allocated by AFD has been untied since 1st January 2002. AFD consequently finances all goods and services regardless of the country of origin of the supplier or service provider, or of the amount of the contract. This decision not only applies to Least Developed Countries (LDCs), in line with the OECD recommendation of 20th April 2001, but also to all AFD’s partner countries. The commitments made by both AFD and its foreign counterparts are under the constant supervision of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC). 

Consult the OECD/DAC recommendation on untying aid 

  • Publicity

logo dgMarket The project owner is required to ensure that tender notices are widely publicized at the national and, where applicable, international level. In the case of an international procedure, in addition to the national media that are normally used, publications must, at a minimum, include the AFD/dgMarket website. This tool, developed by AFD in partnership with the Development Gateway Foundation, benefits from an international reputation and dissemination. It allows project owners to easily publish their notices online and potentially interested service providers can subsequently consult them completely free of charge.

Go to the AFD/dgMarket website

Control and no-objection

As it is understood that the procurement process ultimately remains under the sole responsibility of the project

owner, AFD conducts controls, under the principle of subsidiarity, to ensure that the entire procurement process has been conducted under the required conditions of transparency, equity and efficiency.
In most cases, these controls are conducted via a no-objection process, which validates the key procurement documents ex ante:

  • pre-qualification file or call for expression of interest
  • results of the pre-qualification or establishment of the shortlist
  • bidding documents
  • report(s) on the bid assessment (at the technical and financial stages where applicable) and beneficiary’s proposal
  • contract along with any future amendment

In certain specific cases (standard services, multiple contracts and small amounts…), AFD may decide to simply conduct ex post controls on the awarding of contracts that have already been signed.

Last update in November 2014

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