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Doing Business With Donor Agencies

By Eliza Villarino06 February 2009

Development organizations are increasingly relying on the Internet to gain information on funding opportunities. Above, participants at a workshop organized by Lead International - which receives funding by the U.K.'s DFID - go online. Photo by: Lead International

International development is like any industry - companies want to know how they can do business with other organizations, and in this case, the funding agencies.

But before any firm approaches these institutions, it should be aware of the conditions that could restrict its eligibility to do so. Some countries like the U.K. and Australia have untied their aid programs and as a result, nationality is no longer an issue when bidding for contracts funded by their respective development agencies. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development created a Web site that publishes a list of untied aid projects. Devex also posts such information on its ”Projects & Tenders” page.

Although not all donors provide tips on how to seek and compete for opportunities, some of the major ones as well as U.S. and Canadian government bodies do. Interested firms can find them readily at the agencies’ Web sites or through a quick online search.

There are several sources of helpful advice for those eyeing to provide goods and services to the United Nations. The U.N. Association of the United States of America proposed a five-step approach that would involve performing market research, establishing relationships with U.N. officials and procurement officers, getting included in the supplier roster, familiarizing with the bidding process, and efficiently executing contracts. In addition, the U.N. Inter-Agency Procurement Services Organization came out with two publications: a 14-page document titled ”Doing Business With the UN System” and the ”General Business Guide” for Potential Suppliers of Goods and Services With Common Guidelines for Procurement by Organizations in the UN System.

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About the author

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Eliza Villarino

Eliza Villarino currently manages one of today’s leading publications on humanitarian aid, global health and international development, the weekly GDB. At Devex, she has helped grow a global newsroom, with talented journalists from major development hubs such as Washington, D.C, London and Brussels. She regularly writes about innovations in global development.


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