USAID procurement reforms should prioritize CUs, smaller contractors

February 27, 2019

CUNA and the World Council of Credit Unions called for a level playing field for smaller contractors, such as credit unions, when it comes to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) prioritizing procurement reforms. The organizations submitted a letter for the record to a House appropriations subcommittee Wednesday for its hearing on USAID programs and policies.

“CUNA urges Congress to encourage the Administrator of the US Agency for International Development to prioritize procurement reforms that level the playing field for smaller development contractors, such as those credit unions and other cooperatives that helped achieve successful rural development in the United States in the 20th Century and which today have ties to organizations overseas that can help promote local self-reliance,” reads the letter, signed by CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle and World Council President/CEO Brian Branch.

“WOCCU and its credit union partners overseas also promote democratic principles in the developing world and teach self-reliance rather than reliance on state structures. This means that this “foreign aid” actually gets to its intended recipients and also provides a net benefit to American taxpayers,” the letter adds.

Nussle and Branch note that, with U.S. government and private U.S. foundation support, the World Council is working to promote economic freedom and growth, increase financial inclusion, expand rapidly financial access using mobile technology, help farmers and artisans obtain better prices for their goods and fill the agricultural lending gap to improve food security.

Current World Council projects include:

  • Promoting a stable and economically viable Haiti through the Haiti Home Ownership and Mortgage Expansion program;
  • Strengthening the credit union sector in Ukraine to improve the quality of financial services products offered to farmers and agribusinesses in rural areas through the credit for Agriculture Producers Project;
  • Expanding agricultural finance in Colombia to micro and small- and medium-sized enterprises in rural and remote areas through the Colombia Banca de las Oportunidades Project supporting financial literacy and improving savings mobilization; and
  • Improving small rural producers’ income in Kenya and Guatemala though integrated access to financial services and agricultural markets.