Preparing to export

How you can connect your business to a world of global opportunities

A conversation with Reza Mapar, Chief of Development Business Unit, United Nations, about the opportunities for businesses around the world to successfully access and bid on international contracts.

A little background on the United Nations Development Business (UNDB)

United Nations Development Business (UNDB) is an online platform that consolidates and publishes consulting, contracting and export opportunities worldwide. Daily they receive, process and publish dozens of procurement notices and contract awards coming in from partners at Multilateral Development Banks. The partners include: 

  • the World Bank

  • the Inter-American Development Bank

  • the Asian Development Bank

  • the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

  • the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

  • the African Development Bank

  • the Islamic Development Bank

  • the Millennium Challenge Corporation

  • national governments

  • UN agencies and more. 

UNDB are, in effect, the one stop official source for global opportunities for procurement.

Q: Membership to UNDB is through subscription. What does this cost and what benefits can a business expect if they subscribe to the UNDB?

An annual subscription is USD $590 for full access to our database of procurement notices and contract awards, and customised email alerts on projects. 

This means our subscribers have access to real-time updates on a USD $90 billion procurement market annually, which covers the full range of development projects being financed by major multilateral development banks, as well as some government and UN agencies worldwide. 

We also provide access to early information on projects in the pipeline. This is available in our Bank Operational Summaries for the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and the African Development Bank, which list all projects being considered before they are approved. 

This information allows suppliers to search and set up email alerts for projects in sector and region of their interest that have not been approved yet, so that they could prepare for upcoming opportunities well in advance.

UNDB are, in effect, the one stop official source for global opportunities for procurement.

Q: How easy is it for a business anywhere in the world to subscribe to the UNDB and gain access to the international contracts and tenders available?

Our international business platform is available to anyone with an internet connection who can access our website. Businesses can subscribe online and get access to the tenders and other necessary information to track relevant international trade opportunities and start bidding for projects in 180 countries every year.

Q: What can a subscriber see and what information will they get when they go to the site?

For any given project in our database, a subscriber will see its scope and requirements, procurement procedures and contact details. The level of detail varies depending on the phase and type of procurement, and the information and instructions tend to become more specific as project procurement progresses. 

The important thing is that we provide updated information at every step, with related links, documents and contact details to pursue if a subscriber needs further information.

Q: Overall, how big is the global market of public procurement on offer?

The market we cover, which is focused on development projects in the developing world, is worth over USD $90 billion every year. 

This mainly represents projects financed by multilateral development banks (MDBs), some national government agencies we work with, and aid organisations like the Millennium Challenge Corporation. All offer business opportunities in various industry sectors and regions.

Q: What sectors and industries are covered?

We cover all sectors that serve global development efforts, but some of the big ones are energy, water and sanitation, hard infrastructure including roadways and railways, education and training, healthcare, and medical sectors.

Q: Are there other opportunities available, like subcontracting?

Yes, subcontracting opportunities are available under bigger projects. Sometimes these are announced in procurement notices, but subscribers can also identify opportunities from contract award notices in which winning companies are listed for big contracts.

Q: You provide information on every project in the pipeline, from conceptualisation through to financing and approval. What are the transparency benefits for a business, whether it is publishing a tender or looking for one?

We provide information on projects in the pipeline from the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the African Development Bank. We strongly advocate for this kind of transparency throughout the project financing process, especially in public procurement, because the volume of public money involved makes this market one of the most important places to watch for fraud and conflicts of interest.

Publishing this information helps to make opportunities more widely accessible and supports more fair competition.

Q: You aim to keep subscribers informed. How often are contract opportunities, procurement notices, operational summaries, contract awards, events listings and procurement news published?

We publish scores of announcements every day, year-round, as project information comes to us directly from our partner agencies. It can be an overwhelming amount of information, and subscribers have the option to set up a customised search and email alert for the type of projects they are interested in. This way, they can get a filtered daily or weekly digest of opportunities in their line of business.

Q: Can you help subscribers in their search for leads and in their efforts for making successful bids?

We assist our subscribers by email and phone to help them navigate our database and optimise their search. For specific advice on the actual bidding process of a project, we refer subscribers to the project implementing agency. 

However, we are also able to make further inquiries about some procurement notices or provide more insightful information or knowledge resources from our partner organisations including procurement guidelines, training opportunities and best practices to facilitate a more successful bidding process.

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