Linking procurement to socio-economic objectives to achieve MDGs

Linking procurement to socio-economic objectives to achieve MDGs

How can infrastructure delivery be used to improve socio-economic conditions for the poor?

Effective infrastructure delivery should not only achieve the intended physical infrastructure needs (primary objective) but can also achieve improvements in the socio-economic conditions (secondary objectives).

Secondary objectives can include:
  • Reduce poverty by engaging communities to construct, operate or maintain their local infrastructure
  • Promote construction technologies that increase local employment
  • Promote participation of indigenous small businesses to keep more wealth in the local community
  • Promote capacity building by including training in project execution

Secondary objectives can best be promoted by considering them at the project scoping stage, when structuring the infrastructure procurement strategy.


Watermeyer (1997) Job Creation in Public Sector Engineering and Construction: Why, What & How

In choosing the right procurement strategy, it is important to strike the right balance between primary and secondary objectives.

These must also be integrated so that inclusion of the secondary objectives matches the need for the primary ones. This can often use an innovative combination of low technology, high technology and local components.

Used targeted procurement strategies that require participation of end users/communities

Development efforts are more effective when communities are engaged to construct their own infrastructure. Targeted procurement can be a significant vehicle to increase local participation in infrastructure delivery.

Targeted procurement
Process used to create a demand for the services and supplies (or both), or to secure the participation of, targeted enterprises and targeted labour in contracts in response to the objectives of a secondary procurement policy (ISO 10845-1, Construction Procurement – processes, procedures and methods)

Case study: Zibambele Labour-based Construction & Maintenance Programme, South Africa

This is a poverty alleviation programme, creating sustainable jobs for poor rural families, by maintaining rural roads using labour intensive methods. It provides only a small income but is enough to get children into school. The scheme has a target of 40,000 renewable, annual contracts.

A part-time contract is awarded to a woman who heads a household (these are the majority of the poorest of the poor), as identified and selected by their own community.

Contracts require them to maintain a length, often steep, of rural road near to their house, clearing mud, opening up drainage and cutting back vegetation.

This very local approach matches the need to clean up between rainstorms. Managing very large numbers of individual contracts is made possible by extensive use of mobile phones and the internet.


Second ICE Middle East and Africa Conference (2010) Accelerating infrastructure delivery – improving the quality of life Zibambele programme
Zibambele Programme