Reforms needed for ‘fair access’ to USAID procurement

May 26, 2021

CUNA continued its call for U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) procurement reform Wednesday in a letter sent for a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing. CUNA also strongly supports a funding level of $20 million for USAID’s Cooperative Development Program (CDP).

“Previous USAID Administrators and Congresses have tried to reform procurement practices and broaden access to USAID resources. Despite these efforts, USAID data shows that large contracting firms continue to increasingly dominate USAID awards,” the letter reads. “Smaller U.S. private voluntary and not-for-profit organization should have fair access to USAID procurement. Therefore, we ask you to include report language that would encourage prioritization of funding for these organization.”

The proposed report language calls for a “minimum of 12%” of annual development assistance appropriations to be directly awarded to small U.S. private and voluntary organization and cooperative development organizations.

The CDP is a global initiative administered by the that focuses on building capacity of cooperative businesses and cooperative systems. It was funded at $18.5 million last year.

“With their specialized expertise, CDP’s implementing partners have advanced cooperative businesses and systems in more than 18 countries in Africa, Latin America, and Asia. Activities are targeted to strengthen cooperative businesses in several ways including improved governance, capitalization, gender empowerment, youth engagement, financial management, market performance, and advocacy,” the letter reads. “The program also prioritizes collaboration among partners through working groups, cooperative research, learning, and dissemination of cooperative development resources.”

CDP activities have supported more than 500 cooperatives and credit unions with a combined savings of $495 million through the life of the program.

It has also:

  • Provided health insurance and services to more than 42,000 people in Uganda;
  • Leveraged more than $95 million of investments for cattle cooperatives in South Africa;
  • Increased member equity among cacao cooperatives in Ecuador, Peru, and the Dominican Republic by more than $4 million; and
  • Reformed cooperative law and regulation in Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya and Ukraine.