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Landing in LATAM: GLASS at the XVIII Annual Conference of the Inter-American Network of Government Procurement

Landing in LATAM: GLASS at the XVIII Annual Conference of the Inter-American Network of Government Procurement

On February 21st and 22nd, the Inter-American Network of Government Procurement (Red Interamericana de Compras Gubernamentales (RICG), in Spanish, and “The Network”, from now on), will host its XVIII Annual Conference, the most significant public procurement event in Latin America and the Caribbean, and we were invited to participate as keynote speakers. In this blog, we share everything about this groundbreaking event for the public procurement field, our involvement, and how, almost inadvertently, we are shaping important guidelines in public procurement in Latin America.

About the Inter-American Network of Government Procurement and its XVIII Annual Conference

The Network is a community of government leaders aimed at facilitating cooperation to enhance government procurement in Latin America and the Caribbean. As outlined the Organization of American States (OAS) General Assembly in June 2016, it is described as "the Mechanism of the Inter-American System that provides high-level horizontal technical cooperation to generate and strengthen bonds among its members; promote the exchange of human, technical, financial, and material resources to generate knowledge, experiences, and best practices in public procurement among the Member States of the Organization of American States (OAS)."

On February 21st and 22nd, with the support of the OAS as the Technical Secretariat of the Network, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada, and the Caribbean Development Bank, The Network will hold its XVIII Annual Conference in Asunción, Paraguay, the most significant government procurement event in Latin America and the Caribbean.

This year's edition focuses on "Empowering Development with Public-Private Collaboration Through State Procurements." Consequently, the conference aims to highlight the most important trends in public procurement worldwide, with national and international experts sharing their knowledge through keynote speeches and panel discussions. It will also feature the distinguished presence of authorities and representatives from the Network member countries, National Directors of Public Procurement of the Southern Cone, members of Public Procurement Operational Units from our country's public entities, companies, academics, civil society, and members of international organizations.

In line with that, the opening ceremony will feature Agustín Encina Pérez, National Director of Public Procurement in the Government of Paraguay, Deborah Jones, Director of SERCOP Ecuador and Former President of the Network (2021-2023), Douglas Fraser, Chief of Procurement at the Caribbean Development Bank, and Helena Fonseca, Principal Specialist of the Public Procurement Program and Technical Secretary of The Network on behalf of the OAS. Additionally, Edna Armendariz, Representative of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in Paraguay, the Ambassador of Canada to Paraguay, and His Excellency President Santiago Peña, President of the Republic of Paraguay, may also attend.

GLASS, the Silicon Valley Govtech Startup and Its Participation in the Annual Conference

Paola Santana, our Founder and CEO, was invited by Helena Fonseca, Technical Secretary of the Inter-American Network of Government Procurement, represented by the OAS’ Department for Effective Public Management, to participate as a keynote speaker in this grand event.

Paola will be the keynote speaker of the master conference titled "Technology in Service of Public Procurement." Following the conference, we'll share key takeaways, but for now, let's underscore the significance of GLASS being part of such a prestigious event.

Those familiar with us recognize that our main focus for sales strategy has been the United States. Not only because our headquarters (HQ) are there -AKA in Silicon Valley- but also because we have always believed that there is a unique and unparalleled opportunity in the U.S. to empower governments through the optimization of their government procurement processes. That is why we have been (and will continue to be) focused on the northern hemisphere. 

However, almost unintentionally, we have made significant contributions regarding government procurement processes in Latin America and the Caribbean. From working collaboratively with the City of Mexico, where we optimized their official government procurement platform, which was globally recognized as pioneering in the region, to being called upon to craft executive reports on the future of government procurement in Latin America to be presented at National Congresses and considered as action guides to transform current procurement processes or scenarios.

Once again, we are presented with the opportunity to bring our expertise to Latin America, and we couldn't be prouder. During her presentation, Paola, being a Latin American woman, will share her experience of transforming governments from the heart of technology in the U.S., Silicon Valley. She will discuss her challenges and key lessons learned while working with American governments, emphasizing the importance of continuing to build strong bridges between the public and private sectors to enhance, drive, and evolve government procurement through sustainable development and the use of advanced technologies.

About Helena Fonseca, Specialist in Government Procurement and one of our GovTech Groundbreakers 2022

Helena, with over 18 years of experience in the public sector, has spent the last 15 years supporting governments in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). Focused on the implementation of regional cooperation projects aimed at strengthening democratic governance and improving government procurement and as an OAS Official, assumed the roles of Public Procurement Program Lead Specialist and Technical Secretary of the Inter-American Network of Government Procurement (INGP) in 2017. Her leadership has played a pivotal role in establishing the INGP as the primary regional cooperation mechanism for government procurement. This involves promoting cooperation, sharing best practices, and fostering innovation in public procurement and governance.

Furthermore, Helena has been selected among the Top 10 GovTech Groundbreakers 2022 (GG22), our awards to recognize leaders in the GovTech ecosystem who have made, or are making, significant contributions to driving the GovTech ecosystem worldwide. This recognition is even more important because Helena was part of the first cohort of GovTech Groundbreakers. You can see her recognition here.

As one of our GG22, we invited her to participate in our GovTech forum, where she posed a question related to #GovTech and #Procurement. You can view it and contribute your answer here.

Additionally, Helena has made her contribution to one of our Executive Reports on government procurement in Latin America, prepared to be considered in congressional sessions of the Government of Peru. You can view a summary of it and Helena's contribution here.

All of this makes Helena not only an excellent professional, an expert in government procurement, but also an ally, colleague, and friend with whom we share visions, experiences, and ideas, and this Conference will be another moment to discuss government procurement and its future.

GLASS’ Footprint  in LATAM

As mentioned earlier, we have made several contributions, works, and developments in the Latin America and Caribbean region. Below, we briefly outline some of them:

  • Optimizing the government procurement platform of Mexico City
  • We have collaborated with the team of the Digital Agency for Public Innovation of Mexico City to optimize and enhance the city's official government procurement platform, creating, developing, and implementing two central components of the platform (Pre Bases and Concurso Digital), and refurbishing the main Tianguis Digital website. You can learn more about it here.

  • Sharing ideas to transform public procurement in Peru and Latin America
  • We have prepared an Executive Report for public institutions in Latin America that are undergoing regulatory transformation processes seeking to optimize government procurement procedures and government operations, with contributions from Jim Williams, former Acting Administrator of the General Services Administration (GSA) of the United States during the presidency of George W. Bush, Fabián López Xochipa, former Director of Open Government and Institutional Strengthening at the Digital Agency for Public Innovation (ADIP) of Mexico City, and Helena Fonseca, Director of the Public Procurement Program at the Organization of American States (OAS). You can read about it here.

  • Transforming the justice service of the Dominican Republic
  • We worked with the team of the Constitutional Court of the Dominican Republic to introduce its Constitutional Intelligence Laboratory, a pioneering project globally. So far, the Laboratory has three central components: 1) Patria, the intelligent chatbot of the Constitutional Court that uses natural language processing and understanding techniques, with limited artificial intelligence (AI) to understand users and provide them with a coherent response based on the Tribunal's knowledge base, 2) Improvements to the institutional portal's search engines: The Tribunal has reimagined how users explore and find the information they need, and 3) Enabling the Lab tab: This component aims to communicate and share the technological advances of the court with its recipients through the documentation of innovations, improvements, experiments, simulations, and educational resources related to the activities of the Laboratory. You can read about it here.

    We invite everyone interested in participating virtually in The Network’s XVIII Annual Conference to do so through this link. You'll have the opportunity to experience sessions, panels, and keynote debates with government leaders, public innovators, and governance experts. Additionally, you'll get to learn about the latest trends in government procurement in Latin America and the Caribbean. See you there!


    This blog was written by Gisela Montes, GovTech Community Lead at Glass.


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