In a recent AIDSPAN / Global Fund Observer review, the role and responsibilities of local funding agents (LFAs) were updated and articulated. As a part of this piece, the increased dominance of LFA work by a single LFA – PriceWaterhouse Coopers (PWC) – was attributed to lower costs, greater efficiency, and the more highly-developed in-country teams of this LFA relative to their competitors. Nonetheless, the Global Fund has, in the past, promised to ensure against the development of monopoly practices by a single LFA, in keeping with the ethos of competitive bidding for LFA contracts. While this may be explained by the superior criteria performance and economies of scope and scale that PWC may be experiencing, the Global Fund must, nonetheless, work to ensure continued impartiality in LFA review and selection. This increased dominance of the Global Fund LFA management team by former PWC personnel, as well as reports of preferential treatment and dominance of proceedings by PWC personnel at recent Global Fund M&E trainings, compound these concerns and suggest that the objective selection of LFAs should, in future, be closely monitored.
Sebastian Kevany is an independent consultant. The views expressed in this letter are his own.