The U.S. Agency for International Development’s obligated funding for its top 20 contract awardees in fiscal 2012 accounted for nearly three-quarters of its contract spending that year. Against the backdrop of ongoing budget pressures in Washington, USAID also recorded a significant increase in its contract spending. USAID awarded more than $4.9 billion in contracts in fiscal 2012 - representing a 9 percent increase from fiscal 2011. While USAID awards the bulk of its contracts to for-profit groups, nongovernmental organizations also win a sizeable chunk of the agency’s contract funding.
Since the Clinton administration, USAID has channeled the bulk of its contract assistance through multiyear, umbrella agreements called indefinite quantity contracts. Designed to streamline the U.S. aid agency’s procurement, IQCs allow only pre-qualified firms or nonprofits to bid on a contract. Amid USAID Forward’s push for more competition at the agency, however, USAID officials have indicated that the agency intends to reduce its reliance on IQCs, in part, by awarding more stand-alone contracts.
In addition to fostering more competition, bolstering USAID’s engagement with local organizations is another key objective for the USAID Forward reform drive. USAID has pledged to course 30 percent of its overall assistance through country systems — governments, local businesses and local NGOs — by 2015. In fiscal 2012, firms based outside the United States won only 4 percent of USAID contracts.
Here are the top 20 USAID contract awardees, based on data from USASpending.gov, for fiscal 2012.
With more than 3,000 staff worldwide, Chemonics designs and implements projects in a wide range of technical areas including financial services, private sector development, health, and democracy and governance. The international development company has experience working in 145 countries.
John Snow Inc.’s 500 U.S.-based professionals and 1,600 host country staff provide technical and management assistance to public health initiatives worldwide. Over the past 35 years, JSI has implemented projects in 106 countries. JSI’s nonprofit arm, the JSI Research and Training Institute, is a top USAID grant implementer.
Tetra Tech’s global team of 14,000 professionals provide planning, design, implementation and applied research services in areas including construction, agriculture and economic growth, democracy and governance, energy, and global security. In recent years, Tetra Tech has strengthened its positioning in the aid industry through its acquisition of firms including ARD and DPK, as well as the international development arm of PA Consulting.
Named a Devex Top 40 Development Innovator in 2011, DAI has expertise in the areas of economic growth, environment and energy, governance, health, ICT, stability as well as in the corporate sector. DAI currently works in some 60 countries across the globe. A joint venture of DAI and Nathan Associates is ranked 15th in this list.
With a presence in nearly 40 countries, Abt Associates’ practice areas include education, environment and climate change, food security and agriculture, and international health. Abt Associates was also named a Devex Top 40 Development Innovator in 2011.
Black & Veatch’s approximately 10,000 professional staff provide engineering, consulting and construction services in more than 100 countries worldwide. Black & Veatch affiliate, the Black & Veatch Special Projects Corp., serves the U.S. government market.
The second-largest women-owned company working with the U.S. government, Creative Associates International has expertise in education, governance, stabilization and post-conflict transitions. Since its founding, the firm has operated in 85 countries in in Asia, Africa, Latin America, Eastern Europe and the Middle East.
With nearly 3,000 employees in 35 countries, the Louis Berger Group provides engineering, architecture, program and construction management, environmental planning and science, and economic development services. LBG’s areas of expertise include development economics, energy, public administration, and reconstruction and recovery.
11. Engility (formerly International Resources Group)
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Lorenzo is a Devex senior analyst based in Manila. Our resident budget cruncher, Lorenzo spearheads Devex's in-depth reporting and analysis on global development finance and policy. He attended Wesleyan University in Connecticut on the Freeman Asian Scholarship, earning degrees in Government and Social Studies.