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Tunisia: UN juicy but unknown market

Market juicy but unknown, that of the United Nations amounts to billions of dollars per year. In 2007, the volume of purchases of the international organization has reached over 11 billion USD.This development reflects the dramatic expansion of United Nations interventions. Indeed, in recent years, the Urn’s mandate was expanded. Its interventions in the field (operations, peacekeeping, humanitarian relief and reconstruction) have multiplied.
This increased activity has created new needs for the United Nations and lists the organization among the first global buyers. Participating in the development of these markets is a real business opportunity to be seized by all types of companies. The markets of the United Nations are diverse and varied, both in their content and their amount, ranging from a few thousand dollars to several million.
One wonders why Tunisian companies and suppliers are not applying for. The seminar held, Monday by Cepex on” business opportunities with the Purchasing Department of the United Nations” could provide a response even if the interest triggered by such an initiative is not entirely obvious. In any case, Tunisian businessmen who were attending this seminar got the opportunity to be acquainted with a market so huge and promising that it is open to all.
This is the message conveyed by the Head of United Nations procurement Department, Joanna Porecca invited specially for the occasion to raise awareness regarding this market.
Indeed, the needs of the United Nations cover many sectors. The World organization buys everything, both in terms of size (the average value of orders is low, from 40 000 to 70 000 USD depending on the organization) and in terms of variety of goods (excluding luxury goods) and services.
Over the USD 9.4 billion of purchases made in 2006, the breakdown of goods and services is balanced (50% each). The United Nations needs a wide range of goods (energy, telecommunications, transportation equipment, civil engineering, hospitals, treatment and water supply, environment, farm equipment …), consumer goods (uniforms, tents, blankets, medicines, food, paper, furniture, vaccines, medicines, air conditioning, security equipment ….
Purchases of services are also increasing and cover all sectors: transportation logistics, legal services, translation, training, consultants etc..
42 markets instead of one
The United Nations includes many markets constituted by the 42 agencies that operate independently in terms of purchases. In 2006, for example, over 84% of purchases were made by five agencies: the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the Procurement Division of the United Nations (UNPD), World Food Program (WFP) , UNICEF and the Office of Project Services.
The main suppliers of the organization in 2006 were the United States with 5.6% market share followed by India (4.4%). France is between the 3rd and 10th place depending on the year.
The procurement process within the United Nations is based on a tendering system highlighting competition from potential suppliers. In most cases, tenders are based on the common register of pre-registered potential suppliers. This registration allows the company to be checked by the United Nations buyers. If this pre-registration is not required to bid for a call for tenders, the company must be registered when the  contract is awarded by agencies (including the Procurement Division of the United Nations)
Logic of transparency
More importantly, the United Nations Procurement complies with logic of transparency; the rule being the call for international tenders.
Dealing with the UN involves the setting of a 3 phase strategy: understanding  the characteristics of markets of the United Nations “to identify the agencies that may be interested in the products offered by company, officially registering as a supplier of these agencies and monitoring procurement opportunities offered by the various UN agencies.
The 6th annual meeting on UN markets is due to be held on 20, 21 and 22 April 2009 at UN headquarters in New York City.
This two and a half day seminar will bring together the main structures of United Nations procurement located around the world to give a clear description of UN procurement methods.

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