Procurement for vital services in Africa

UNOPS provides fast, efficient and cost-effective procurement services to partners worldwide, through a global network of regional offices and operations centres.

The Africa Regional Office (AFO) supports UNOPS operations centres in Africa, providing a shared knowledge base and ensuring that best practices are disseminated across the region. Through this office, UNOPS helps African governments procure the goods and services they need, in a timely and cost-effective way.

In Sierra Leone, for example, UNOPS is overseeing the construction of three solar-powered paediatric clinics as well as the procurement of medical and solar equipment, on behalf of UNICEF and in consultation with the Ministry of Health. Funded by the Government of Ireland, this $1.4 million project aims to strengthen medical facilities and services for the country's children.

In Madagascar, UNOPS supported the Government by purchasing IT equipment under a $2.2 million project on governance and institutional development, funded by the World Bank. UNOPS was able to quickly deliver the supplies due to its ability to procure against Long-Term Agreements (LTAs) with suppliers. These types of agreement are used by UNOPS throughout the continent, for instance in Mozambique, where UNOPS provided procurement support to the Ministry of Health for the acquisition of 55 ambulances and medical equipment, with funding from the World Bank.

Watch this video from the ConfLinks Peacekeeping & Stability Links Africa event held in Addis Ababa in June 2014. Head of Ethiopia Office, Bamidele Ilebani, discusses UNOPS’ strong commitment to sustainability through its project management, infrastructure and procurement initiatives.


In Ethiopia, UNOPS supports the Government's efforts to extend health coverage to remote areas, and reduce mother and child mortality (Millennium Development Goal  4), through the procurement of over 1,000 ambulances. In the food security sector, UNOPS has partnered with the country's Ministry of Agriculture, the Development Bank of Ethiopia and the Agricultural Transformation Agency, to purchase 175 vehicles and nearly 3,000 motorcycles to enhance agricultural productivity, with funding from the Ethiopian government, the World Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The vehicles and motorcycles help extension workers make regular visits to farmers and small-land holders in an effort to improve food production and enhance local food security. UNOPS supports sustainable procurement goals by ensuring that these vehicles are locally serviced. In 2013, over $18 million worth of goods and services were procured for these initiatives. UNOPS continues to play a key role in providing procurement support to the World Bank and IFAD in Ethiopia, assisting the government in achieving the MDGs.

Focus on Sustainability

UNOPS promotes environmentally, socially and economically sustainable procurement practices, including through: integrating long-term environmental, economic and social considerations into contracts; ensuring suppliers uphold workers' rights and stand against exploitation and child labour; partnering with other UN bodies to develop sustainable procurement training tools; and encouraging suppliers to support the UN Global Compact, a voluntary corporate citizenship network that asks companies to abide by core values on human rights, labour standards, the environment and anti-corruption.

UNOPS is recognized by partners for its expertise and success in delivering complex, multi-sectoral programmes in post-conflict and development environments. These attributes make UNOPS the service provider of choice for many organizations and governments seeking results in challenging environments across Africa.

Every year, UNOPS purchases around $800 million worth of high-quality, best-value goods, works and services, helping to ensure the successful and timely implementation of partners' peacebuilding, humanitarian and development projects.