USAID procurement reform should remove obstacles for not-for-profits

March 23, 2021

U.S. Agency for International Development Director nominee Samantha Power should, if confirmed, advance procurement reform at USAID, CUNA wrote to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Tuesday. The committee conducted a nomination hearing for Power, and while CUNA does not weigh in on presidential nominations, its letter highlights credit union priorities at USAID.

“Many [not-for-profit organizations], like credit unions, have extensive community rooted networks in countries that are prioritized by USAID,” the letter reads. “Such organizations can provide USAID with specialized skills, organized networks and a proven track record to support USAID implementation of U.S. foreign assistance. However, these U.S. private voluntary and not-for-profit organizations tend to be smaller and more specialized; as such, they face procurement obstacles in the effort to partner with USAID.”

USAID data shows that large contracting firms continue to “increasingly dominate” USAID awards, CUNA notes, despite previous efforts to reform procurement processes and broaden access to USAID resources.

“We respectfully ask Congress to ensure that USAID addresses USAID procurement in ways that will ensure a fair access by smaller U.S. private voluntary and not-for-profit organizations and urge you to address this issue to Ambassador Power during her confirmation process,” the letter reads.

CUNA has previously called on Congress to ensure USAID awards a fair and substantial amount of its direct awards and contracts to small, U.S.-based not-for-profit voluntary organizations such as credit unions and other cooperatives,