The damage caused by the global financial crisis requires additional federal intervention, according to the Obama Administration, which is launching a new program to “foster growth and stability at a time of increasing economic turmoil.” This particular endeavor, however, will focus its efforts on improving conditions in Eastern Europe, the Western Balkans, and the “newly independent states,” or NIS, of the former Soviet Union.
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is designing this Europe & Eurasia (E&E) regional project in order to “promote trade, investment and regulatory integration; enhance regional competitiveness, and support financial sector stability.”
The agency did not disclose an estimated cost of the program, which remains under development. It is conducting market research of potential contractors capable of carrying out services in the region. USAID may—or may not—release a more detailed solicitation at a later date.
If indeed it executes this project, USAID will target thirteen nations where USAID already has established a presence, “including the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia), Western NIS (Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus), Russia, and the Caucasus (Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan).
According to a Sources Sought Notice that U.S. Trade & Aid Monitor located via routine database research:
Despite the tremendous progress made over the years, many of these countries are still struggling to regain the living standards that they enjoyed under communism and to integrate themselves into the ever more competitive world economy. Furthermore, the region has been disproportionately adversely affected by the 2008-2009 global economic crisis and, now, by the ongoing Eurozone financial crisis… Several countries in the region have unemployment rates above 20%, labor productivity remains well below the EU standards, and export growth rates have stagnated.
The four “principal technical areas” for which contractors may provide services include:
1. Regional Trade Facilitation;
2. Private Sector Competitiveness and Enterprise Development;
3. Business Enabling Environment (meaning, support of “legal and regulatory reform and rule of law issues”); and:
4. Financial Sector Stability, Growth & Inclusion.
USAID will accept capability statements from interested providers until June 11 at 2 p.m.
Source document: Solicitation #M-OAA-GRO-LMA-12-1002
The U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) is looking for a contractor capable of developing a new analytical model to predict Internet usage and growth in thirty-two foreign nations, from "A" (Albania) to "Z" (Zimbabwe).
The agency, which runs U.S. government-funded international broadcasting systems such as Voice of America and Radio Sawa and Alhurra Television of the Middle East Broadcasting Networks, said in a Statement of Work (Solicitation #BBG50-R-11-0020) that existing models for predicting growth are inadequate. The SOW said those models solely focus on specific technology sectors rather than the Internet in its entirety:
The ultimate goal is to estimate, using empirical data, the expansion of the number of unique individuals using the Internet on a weekly basis in these markets over the next five years. While various organizations have produced such estimates and prejections for sub-segments of the Internet market, such as mobile Internet use or fixed line broadband, BBG requires estimates of the growth of the entire Internet market, regardless of platform, including use via public access facilities.
Although the BBG attempted to justifiy why it wants a new predictive model, it did not specify why it needs -- nor what it intends to do -- with such a new mode of analysis. The agency said it would apply the model to Internet usage in the following nations: Afghanistan, Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Cameroon, China, Egypt, Georgia, Ghana, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Syria, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, Vietnam, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
The BBG said the selected contractor should be able to complete the work within an eight-week period. It did not offer an estimated cost of the project.
U.S. taxpayers will foot the bill to pay a consultant to assess Ukraine's national emergency communications initiative. The U.S. Trade & Development Agency (USTDA) yesterday selected Washington, D.C.-based Winbourne & Costas, Inc., to carry out a "feasibility study" of Ukraine's technical and financial requirements in carrying out the nationwide modernization project. As the Monitor previously reported, Ukraine had requested USTDA assistance because that nation faced a budget shortfall for the endeavor (See:"U.S. to Help Modernize Emergency Communications, Banking Systems in Ukraine"; Monitor, April 4, 2011). The study will cost taxpayers $649,000, according to a June 30 award notice.
The U.S. soon will undertake a financial commitment to help modernize emergency-communications systems nationwide—nationwide, that is, in the Eastern European country of Ukraine. A separate, U.S.-financed endeavor will cost about $100,000 annually to deploy an adviser to help launch a financial-services reform program “designed to improve the investment environment in Ukraine,” according to contracting documents that U.S. Trade & Aid Monitor has located.
In the first project, the U.S. Trade & Development Agency (USTDA) today (April 4) began searching for a consulting firm capable of conducting a “feasibility study,” which would entail an initial inquiry plus a follow-up report detailing potential technical and financial requirements of the “Ukraine National Emergency Telephone Call Response System” initiative. Although USTDA did not release an estimated cost of that project, it acknowledged that the Government of Ukraine currently faces a budgetary shortfall in carrying it out.
“Out of a total estimated cost of $100 million, this leaves $22.3 million that must be funded,” the USTDA document says.
In addition to developing technology and system requirements for the “1-1-2” (rather than 9-1-1) system, the selected contractor will develop a comprehensive technical design and strategic plan to execute the project, the document says.
Ultimately, the federal government’s financing of the feasibility study not only serves as a gift to the Ukrainian people, but as a subsidy for U.S. industry—even for U.S. business that already have a foothold in Ukraine. “The Contractor shall assemble a list of potential U.S. equipment suppliers, including ICT [information and communications technology] and telecommunications equipment manufacturers and other technology companies,” the document says,” and particularly those companies with a demonstrated interest in selling ICT and communications equipment and/or products and services in Ukraine.
Separately, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) intends to hire an individual private contractor whom the agency will deploy to Kiev, the Ukrainian capital. The goal is to assist in carrying out banking and investment industry reforms espoused by the U.S.
The Senior Financial and Legal Sector Advisor, as the position is known, will support U.S.-led efforts to improve “the regulators and related agencies in Ukraine's financial sector (including the securities commission, financial services regulator, National Bank, and Deposit Guarantee Fund).” The contractor also will be tasked with facilitating the development of “the government securities market and capital market infrastructure” as well as “credit mechanisms and investment opportunities.” Additional responsibilities include providing guidance in the development of pension systems and the creation of a “financial literacy awareness campaign.”
The annual pay range for the position is $84,697 - $110,104.
It should be noted that the Regional Mission of USAID/Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova (UBM) “ranks as one of the Agency's largest programs, with funding levels of $83 million in FY 2010. Approximately $67 million will be provided to Ukraine in FY 11, the SOW points out.
(Source: Solicitation #USTDA-I1-P-67-999 and #SOL-121-11-000001, retrieved April 4, 2011)