The cost of United Nations peacekeeping annually is around the $9 billion mark with about seven billion spent in Africa.
South Africa’s defence industry and other economic sectors last year were on the receiving end of just over $73 million.
Procurement spend on South African suppliers went from $258 million in 2009 to $210 million in 2010, $188 million in 2011, and $167 million in 2012. It rebounded to $194 million in 2013 then down to $169 million in 2014. However, there is no reason why it shouldn’t be much more.
This is the view taken by Dmitri Dovgopoly, UN director of procurement. Addressing the South Africa/UN Procurement Summit in Pretoria this week the Ukrainian pointed out South Africa had, among others, the necessary expertise and products to supply UN peacekeeping, peace support and conflict resolution missions on the continent with goods and services ranging from food through pharmaceuticals to shelter and housing as well as freight, telecommunications, engineering and constructions services.
He pointed out UN missions in Africa generate 188 tons of solid waste a day.
“It has to go somewhere and it’s now time to look at going the energy from waste route. This I believe is an area where South African expertise can contribute.”
Accommodating the thousands of UN peacekeepers, peace support workers, police and others in the peacebuilding chain is another major expense for the world body.
“Given that a soldier has to have seven square metres of accommodation and a colonel 28 and looking at a mission such as MONUSCO, we need a whole lot of accommodation for the more than twenty thousand people who are part of it,” he told more than 400 delegates at the CSIR Convention Centre.
Other products and services Dovgopoly felt could come to UN missions from South Africa include blood, fuel and oil as well as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
He said the UN had come to realise the effectiveness of UAVs “about 20 years too late, but they have been deployed in the DRC in 2013 and Mali and we are looking to deploy UAVs in the Central African Republic (CAR). We have to move with technological advances to make our missions more effective”.
He also told delegates the world body’s procurement arm has “a serious requirement for armoured vehicles” and it was currently looking at the South African designed and manufactured Mamba.
Dovgopoly stressed the UN at all times aimed to get the best value for money and always had the needs and objectives of the various missions it is acquiring goods and services for at the top of mind.
“This is a major change from 10 years ago when the lowest bidder option was followed. We now work on best value, including life cycle costs,” he said.