The role of e-government in sustainable public procurement in developing countries: A systematic literature review
Despite their relatively lower national income, studies suggest that developing countries have consistently advanced their e-government structures. However, there is little knowledge on how governments’ deployment of electronic and internet technologies may be leveraged to stimulate sustainable supply chain management, particularly Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP) practices. From a Systematic Literature Review (SLR), this paper affirms such allusions by scholars and reports that government deployment of electronic and internet tools indeed promotes SPP towards the bigger agenda of sustainable development (SDG 12.7). In this paper, 68 articles of heterogeneous research methods published in peer-review journals since 2001–2017 are systematically reviewed. This paper concludes that efforts in building a robust ICT infrastructure, online portals, and human capacity to use ICT offer developing countries inter alia an informative platform for sharing and communicating SPP requirements. E-government also facilitates a wider sample for market readiness assessment and an integrated e-procurement system towards effective SPP monitoring and evaluation. This study has significant implications for promoting sustainability in the downstream supply chain practices in public sector organizations in the developing country context.
What role has e-government in promoting sustainable procurement in the public sector of developing countries? This is the main research questions of the report. Governments’ use of ICT and the integration of environmental and socio-economic criteria into procurement practices continue to attract attention in the literature. However, there is a paucity of knowledge on how ICT facilitates sustainable purchasing and Supply Chain Management (SCM) practices in public sector organizations, particularly, from the developing country context. Filtering from the overarching research question, this paper addresses two other sub-questions: what are the drivers of SPP in developing countries? What is the state of e-government in developing countries? Whilst question 2 examines the factors informing the adoption of SPP practices, question 3 explores the current state of the e-government literature and how its adoption has enhanced sustainable development in developing countries. In a nutshell, the concept e-government offers various opportunities to improve public service delivery including SPP. The study concludes that public sector agencies could complement traditional forms of training techniques with online assessment tools and training materials towards enhancing SPP capacity of stakeholders and enforcement of SPP criteria in developing countries, albeit in a convenient manner. The study further reveals that e-government has a significant role in SPP mainstreaming especially in developing countries. First, the proliferated government online portals and high investment into ICT infrastructure and human capacity offer a platform for a wide variety of SPP information including standardizing SPP requirements for common products and services purchased by the government. Secondly, e-government has the potential to facilitate the mainstreaming of SPP at various levels of public sector institutions. Procurement managers and policymakers may employ this as a tool to complement other traditional forms of training materials to sensitize suppliers and procurement officers about the SPP practice. Lastly, the SLR revealed several challenges of e-government services mainly constituting technological, social and institutional complexities defining public administration systems in developing countries.