Supplier Portals

  • Supplier portals, which are increasingly being used as tools to increase local procurement, are highly effective in reducing the information barrier between extractive industries and local businesses because they provide reliable information on available tenders and procurement opportunities.
  • Supplier portals also improve access to opportunities for local suppliers, improve competitiveness,increase access to targeted support, save cost and time for both buyers and suppliers, and build trust within the supply chain.
  • Addressing the information barrier can be one of the lowest hanging fruits (in terms of resources required) to advance local procurement.
  • Both internal and external supplier portal types are explored in some detail in this sub-section.
View footnotes

[1] World Bank Elled CoP, “Buyer Supplier Portals in Extractives: Strategic Choices and Practical Lessons to Enhance Local Procurement”, Webinar, June 12, 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pa0s7P0kD_Q&feature=youtu.be

[2] Ghana News Agency, “Ghana Chamber of Mines to Launch Online Portal on Local Content”. Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, June 3, 2017

Key Resources

Topic Briefing

Supplier portals are increasingly being used as tools to increase local procurement. The main aim for many is to reduce the information barrier between the extractive industry and local businesses by providing reliable information on available tenders and procurement opportunities. Other possible objectives include: improve access to opportunities for local suppliers, improve competitiveness, increase access to targeted support, save cost and time for both buyers and suppliers, and build trust within the supply chain.[1] These portals can serve a single extractive industry company or the entire industry as a national platform, such as the more well-known cases in Ghana (African Partner Pool) and Australia (ICN Gateway). When used as an industry-wide portal, these platforms can streamline business registration processes and reduce the time required to submit an expression of interest.

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Accessibility is a fundamental component of the procurement process. If a supplier does not know how to find or to access procurement opportunities or where to find information about how to register in the company database, they will not be able to participate in the procurement process of the extractive industry company. Addressing the information barrier can be one of the lowest hanging fruits (in terms of resources required) to advance local procurement.

Below, different types of supplier portals are outlined including portals that are internal to extractive industry companies and those that are external.

  • Internal
    • Open: When companies have supplier registries on their website and/or announced widely so that suppliers know how to register and pass the pre-screening processes.
    • Closed: When a company identifies suppliers or suppliers are recommended to it, they are entered into the company’s database of local suppliers.
  • External
    • These are typically government initiatives aimed at fast-tracking companies’ identification of local suppliers. For example, the government of South Africa maintains a registry for local suppliers and carries out the initial due diligence on suppliers in an effort to reduce the burden on companies and increase local procurement. Key challenges of this type of program include maintenance and sustained financing. Databases that do not allow suppliers to register on an ongoing basis or are not updated, can quickly fall out of use. Overall these databases address issues related to burdens for local suppliers, particularly small businesses, to cope with company specific registration requirements, and can also be designed to serve multiple industries.
    • Industry associations: Associations are also working to identify local suppliers and support their members to increase local purchasing, such as the Chamber of Mines in Ghana.[2]
    • Private: These portals are set up by private enterprises that are not buyers. Examples include Africa Partner Pool and OMX.