Kosovo—Transparent, Effective, and Accountable Municipalities (USAID TEAM)

Client: U.S. Agency for International Development

Duration: 2016-2022

Region: Eastern Europe and Central Asia

Country: Kosovo

Solutions: Governance

Public procurement is a government tool used to deliver goods and services such as fixing roads, building schools, or buying medical equipment for citizens. Fair competition, a level playing field, and transparency are essential to ensuring public money is spent responsibly and leads to the best value for citizens in terms of high-quality goods and services.

However, in Kosovo, citizens, civil society organizations, and private sector economic operators report that public procurement had been compromised by political patronage, nepotism, fraud, and other forms of corruption. This problem reduces public resources available for service delivery to citizens, undermines public confidence in government, and deters foreign investment. It is critically important for the Government of Kosovo to address these weaknesses or gaps in the procurement system, especially at the municipal level, to safeguard public money spent through public procurement.

To assist the Government of Kosovo in strengthening systems and limit opportunities for fraud, waste, or abuse in public procurement, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) launched the Transparent, Effective, and Accountable Municipalities (USAID TEAM) activity, which DAI implemented from 2016 to 2022. The project supported Kosovo to improve the transparency and accountability of the municipal procurement process in all 38 municipalities. At the central level, USAID TEAM worked with institutions that oversee public procurement, supervise municipal internal auditors, manage the municipal budgeting process, and oversee anti-corruption investigations. In addition, USAID TEAM built the capacity of civil society organizations to exercise citizen oversight of municipal procurement in a watchdog role and to provide checks and balances by exposing corrupt practices and working with citizens and local governments as a partner in the process of procurement modernization.

Sample Activities

  • Assist national accountability agencies in providing more effective and coordinated financial oversight.
  • Increase the government’s use of good practices in budget planning, public procurement, and contract management.
  • Support the government in advancing norms and practices that support internal audit and accountability.
  • Work with civil society, media, and the private sector to improve the integrity of public and private sector actors in public procurement.

Select Results

  • The Public Procurement Regulatory Commission (PPRC) fully adopted electronic procurement and expanded the functionality of the e-Procurement platform. Now, procurement tenders for all government agencies must be issued through the e-Procurement platform and private sector economic operators must submit their bids online (SEE VIDEO ABOVE). All contracting authorities must now publish procurement contract data on the electronic platform. Currently, there are 12,282 public contracts available to citizens on the e-Procurement platform. In 2018 and 2019, government agencies initiated 12,237 procurement activities valued at €740 million through e-Procurement.
  • 24 Kosovo municipalities voluntarily published 2,895 procurement contracts on their municipal websites.
  • The Procurement Review Body (PRB) now requires all bid protests be submitted through an e-Appeals module on the e-Procurement platform. In addition, the PRB recently began live-streaming their board hearings on their website.
  • Supported the National Audit Office (NAO) in 2018 to launch an Anti-Fraud Unit to handle procurement cases with suspected fraud elements and forward them to the State Prosecutor’s Office for further investigation. By the end of December 2020, the NAO reported 141 cases with suspected fraud elements to the Kosovo State Prosecutor. In addition, the NAO achieved a great milestone in developing the Audit Management IT System, which is a precondition for expanding audit coverage and quality.
  • Supported the creation of the Open Procurement Transparency Portal (OPTP), a civil society-led web portal that automatically pulls data from the Government’s e-procurement platform and presents it in a user-friendly manner, allowing researchers to explore interactive linkages between public money, government agencies, and private sector contractors, and to identify unusual patterns that may indicate fraud or corruption. As of December 2020, there were 43,768 users. Civil society, investigative journalists, businesses, and even Government of Kosovo officials report using the OPTP as a starting point for investigations or for business intelligence.
  • Seeking accountability and more transparency, 31 partner civil society groups, in 2020, published 38 infographics, posted/aired 22 videos, drafted 29 reports, sent 13 cases to the state prosecutor, established 12 social audit teams; prepared 3 guidelines for watchdog practitioners, broadcasted 3 radio debates, and aired 2 televised debates in national broadcasters.
  • Supported 23 municipal civil society groups to prepare monitoring reports for local procurements.


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