The United Nations spent $16.1 billion on lifesaving goods and services in 2013, $9.7 billion of which was sourced from developing countries and those with an economy in transition, according to the global body’s latest annual procurement report. This represents a $738 million increase compared with 2012.
Orders from suppliers in the “global south” have grown nearly fivefold over the past decade, jumping from $2 billion in 2003 to $9.7 billion in 2013. This is consistent with a General Assembly resolution from 2005 calling all U.N. organizations to increase opportunities for vendors in developing countries or countries with economies in transition.
Although a wide range of high-tech supplies — from medical equipment to information technologies — continue to be supplied by advanced economies, products and services from developing or emerging countries now make up the majority of the U.N. system’s procurement.
This positive trend is further confirmed by the growing number of states in the global south that have evolved into vital suppliers to the international body. Out of the 10 major U.N. suppliers in 2013, four were developing or emerging economies: India, Afghanistan, the United Arab Emirates and Kenya.