Business Community Development Trade

UN encourages women to run businesses

Mr. Balakrishnan Amirthalingam

By Hillary Munedzi

The United Nations Global Marketplace (UNGM) secretariat is working on providing opportunities for women in business in line with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Speaking during the UNGM procurement seminar held in conjunction with Zimtrade at a local Hotel in Harare recently, Mr. Balakrishnan Amirthalingam, the Chief of the Global Procurement Support Section of the United Nations Procurement Division said that people can apply to be vendors in order to do business with the UN.

“Under the UN system, tenders are given to the cheapest supplier. The United Nations Secretariat is targeted to provide opportunities for women-owned businesses in line with sustainable development goal number five which is achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls. Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world.

“The UN secretariat is dedicated to increasing the participation of women-owned businesses in its procurement of goods and services,” said Mr.Balakrishnan Amirthalingam.

The United Nations represents an annual global market of over US$ 17 billion for all types of products and services. The UNGM platform increases and facilitates the access of suppliers in developing countries to the United Nations through awareness creation and outreach activities. They work in partnership with the chamber of commerce and relevant ministries in member states.

“In 2021 the integrated procurement volume is US$2,7 billion. This volume is only from the UN Secretariat not the UN system as a whole. The UN procurement as a whole is US$29.6 Billion which is an increase of US$7.3 billion (32.5 percent) compared to 2020. This was the highest procurement volume recorded to date with an increase of US$2.4 billion recorded from the previous year – a total of 59 percent (US$17.4 billion) as the procurement of goods while US$7,4 billion was for services,” said Mr.Balakrishnan.

In 2002, the General Assembly requested the Secretary-General to encourage organizations of the UN system to take further steps to increase procurement opportunities for suppliers from developing countries and countries with economies in transition. In response to this request and in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, UN organizations have continued to increase procurement from these countries.

In addition to the benefits realized by the recipients of goods and services, the UN procures, procurement from developing countries can help to stimulate capacity growth, economic activity, and employment where the goods and services are created.

Zimbabwe had a Procurement value for the year 2021 of $82.06 Million which represented 0.28 percent of the UN procurement with transportation, storage, and mail services amounting to US$11.6 million and management and admin services at US$9.3 million.

Businesses can register at the UN website www.ungm.otg

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Byron Adonis Mutingwende