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Top USAID private sector partners: A primer

By Eliza Villarino06 September 2011

The Ronald Reagan building in Washington, D.C. serves as the headquarters of the U.S. Agency for international Development. Photo by: Cliff / CC BY

Partnering with the U.S. Agency for International Development can be good business. After all, the world’s largest bilateral donor awards tens of millions of dollars each year to consultancies and other implementers.

The largest chunks are given out in the form of multiyear arrangements called indefinite quantity contracts. IQCs are typically won by well-established U.S. development consultancies. Organizations with multiple areas of expertise often win several of these sector-focused contracts.

IQCs offer ample opportunity for further partnerships between development organizations. In fact, even IQC holders may subcontract on other indefinite quantity contracts. Tetra Tech ARD, which manages 10 live IQCs, for instance, is a subcontractor under four other IQCs.

But subcontracting opportunities under IQCs do not necessarily go to large companies. Tetra Tech ARD says it is “especially interested” in working with U.S. small businesses. DAI has set up a registry for organizations, including small businesses, to work on the USAID-funded projects it manages.

Here are the leading USAID private sector partners, based on USAID data on funding obligated to them by the agency from Oct. 1, 2010, to March 31, 2011. We summated the amounts for organizations that appear multiple times in USAID’s data file.

Check the Devex projects and tenders database for information on possible funding or partnership and funding opportunities with these and other organizations.

1. Chemonics

Founded: 1975
Headquarters: Washington, D.C.
President and CEO: Richard Dreiman
Obligated USAID funding: $832.8 million

Chemonics designs and implements projects in agriculture, conflict and disaster management, democracy and governance, education, energy, environmental management, financial services, gender, health, and private sector development. This ISO 9001-certified company has experience working in 135 countries. It currently holds the most live USAID indefinite quantity contracts, with 14.

2. DAI

Founded: 1970
Headquarters: Bethesda, Md.
President and CEO: James Boomgard
Obligated USAID funding: $614.6 million

DAI has a global team of 2,000 professionals with expertise in economic growth, environment and energy, governance, health, stability and the corporate sector. It was was named a Devex Top 40 Development Innovator in April 2011.

A joint venture of DAI and Nathan Group is ranked 20th in this list. The two groups are currently seeking task orders under USAID’s Global Business, Trade and Investment II indefinite quantity contract.

3. Louis Berger Group

Founded: 1953
Headquarters: Morristown, N.J.
President: Larry D. Walker
Obligated USAID funding: $533.1 million

LBG is an international consulting firm rendering engineering, architecture, program and construction management, environmental planning and science, and economic development services. It has nearly 3,000 employees — half of whom are expatriates, and the rest are local professionals — in 35 countries and does business in 80 nations. It says it sponsors community outreach activities and carries out pro bono services in areas where it operates.

4. John Snow Inc.

Founded: 1978
Headquarters: Boston, Mass.
President: Joel Lamstein
Obligated USAID funding: $482.1 million

JSI provides technical and management assistance to public health initiatives in the United States and the developing world. It operates from eight U.S. and 81 overseas offices, housing 2,000 staff. JSI has implemented projects in 104 countries.

John Snow Inc.‘s nonprofit companion, the JSI Research and Training Institute, is among USAID’s top NGO implementing partners.

5. Deloitte Consulting

Founded: 2000
Headquarters: New York City, N.Y.
Chairman and CEO: Jim Moffatt
Obligated USAID funding: $301.7 million

Deloitte Consulting is a subsidiary of Deloitte LLP, a member company of one of the so-called big four audit firms, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd. It offers consulting services on human capital, strategy and operations, and technology. Deloitte Consulting is a Devex Top 40 Development Innovator.

6. Abt Associates

Founded: 1965
Headquarters: Cambridge, Mass.
President and CEO: Kathleen L. Flanagan
Obligated USAID funding: $300.1 million

Abt is a leading research firm and was cited in the 2011 Honomichl Top 50 list, an annual compilation of the leading revenue-generating marketing research companies operating in the United States. It was also named a Devex Top 40 Development Innovator. Its services include technical assistance, policy and economic analyses, data collection, strategy planning and management of projects in the areas of health, education, housing, environment, international development and business.

7. Tetra Tech ARD

Founded: 1977
Headquarters: Burlington, Vt.
President: Jan Auman
Obligated USAID funding: $289.3 million

Tetra Tech ARD is a subsidiary of engineering and consulting giant Tetra Tech. It has led more than 600 projects worldwide, on areas such as agriculture and economic growth, democracy and governance, environment and natural resources, land tenure and property rights, water resources and infrastructure, and information and knowledge management.

8. Creative Associates International

Founded: 1977
Headquarters: Washington, D.C.
President and CEO: M. Charito Kruvant
Obligated USAID funding: $214.6 million

Creative is the second-largest women-owned company working with the U.S. government. It has a regional office in Kenya and field offices in 15 other countries. Its president, M. Charito Kruvant, is the chairwoman of the Coalition of International Development Companies, which brings together 51 companies seeking to better highlight their role in U.S. international development initiatives and have a bigger voice in development-focused debates.

9. University Research Co.

Founded: 1965
Headquarters: Bethesda, Md.
President: Barbara N. Turner
Obligated USAID funding: $159.9 million

URC is a global company with expertise in the areas of maternal, newborn and child health; HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria; reproductive health and family planning; and nutrition and infant feeding. It provides a range of technical assistance, including quality improvement, health system strengthening, behavior change and communication, and research and evaluation.

10. International Resources Group

Founded: 1978
Headquarters: Washington, D.C.
President: Asif M. Shaikh
Obligated USAID funding: $150.3 million

IRG has completed more than 850 contracts in 140 countries, working with governments, U.N. agencies, multilateral and bilateral donors, non-governmental organizations, and other companies. Its areas of specialization: economics, resources, relief and reconstruction, governance, and capacity development. It has ISO 14001 certification, a recognition of its effective environmental management system.

11. Central Asia Development Group

Headquarters: Singapore
Obligated USAID funding: $132 million

12. AECOM

Headquarters: Los Angeles, Calif.
Obligated USAID funding: $130 million

13. Wits Health Consortium

Headquarters: Johannesburg, South Africa
Obligated USAID funding: $109.9 million

14. Management Systems International

Headquarters: Washington, D.C.
Obligated USAID funding: $90 million

15. Computer Sciences Corp.

Headquarters: Falls Church, Va.
Obligated USAID funding: $67.4 million

16. Futures Group

Headquarters: Washington, D.C.
Obligated USAID funding: $64.8 million

17. Macro International

Headquarters: Washington, D.C.
Obligated USAID funding: $58.8 million

18. Carana Corp.

Headquarters: Arlington, Va.
Obligated USAID funding: $56.7 million

19. Fintrac

Headquarters: St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
Obligated USAID funding: $48.5 million

20. DAI/Nathan Group

Obligated USAID funding: $47.3 million


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About the author

Eliza villarino 400x400
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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