By Steve Peacock
Barack Obama administration spending and projects in Kenya have become so voluminous that the U.S. Agency for International Development must hire more contractors to oversee endeavors other providers already carry out across the African nation.
USAID in its own words admits that the “overall USAID/Kenya program has increased rapidly and exponentially, outstripping workforce resources available to effectively perform assessments and rigorous analyses … track results … manage recordkeeping, and other project development and program office functions.”
According to a Statement of Work for the USAID/Kenya program-support initiative – which WND located through routine database research – the agency acknowledges the level of U.S.-financed Kenyan operations has outpaced Washington’s ability to adequately manage it.
“All levels of personnel ceilings are constrained by a limited U.S. government footprint in Kenya,” the SOW says. “In order to address these constraints, certain project development and program office functions … have been identified for delivery through external contracting.
“This group of functions will be contracted as one support activity to reduce the burden on mission staff,” the SOW continued.
USAID views with urgency its selection of a contractor, describing the procurement as a “high-priority requirement with high visibility” at the U.S. Mission.
The $480 million program at USAID/Kenya encompasses numerous assistance projects in general areas such as health, population and HIV/AIDS; basic education; youth; governing justly and democratically; and economic growth, environment and natural resources management.
The $480 million is specific to U.S. Department of State and USAID initiatives only. The amount comprises over half the U.S. government’s annual foreign-assistance budget for Kenya, the largest recipient of such aid in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Budgeted separately are Kenyan programs administered by the Department of Agriculture, Department of the Treasury, Export-Impact Bank, Overseas Private Investment Corporation, Peace Corps and Department of Defense.
The new USAID/Kenya program-support initiative will cost upwards of $23 million, which the agency will pay based on “task orders” individually awarded to the selected contractor.
The contractor furthermore must launch an “Information Dissemination and Public Education services” component to the project, deploying a “full time Communications Advisor” to the Kenyan capital of Nairobi for the duration of the contract.
Responsibilities for that position include press release- and speech-writing, developing and distributing newsletters and reports, and producing USAID/Kenya videos for distribution via YouTube and other digital and traditional outlets.
In addition to providing management support functions, the contractor also will conduct mid-term and final evaluations of 18 specific projects that USAID identified in the SOW. The initiatives include the “Kenya Dryland Livestock Development Program” and “Kenya Elections and Political Processes Strengthening 2012 Program.”
The targeted program list does not include recently launched endeavors. As WND reported in April, a spike in Kenyan projects was under way at the Obama administration, which at the time of the report had not yet disclosed the estimated cost of those endeavors.
The Kenya Agricultural Value Chain Enterprises, or KAVES, program, for instance, will cost U.S. taxpayers an additional $40 million over five years, WND has learned. Separately, USAID devoted $22 million toward the Resilience and Economic Growth in the Arid Lands-Accelerated Growth, or REGAL-AG, program, documents reveal.
Additionally, the U.S. Department of Defense awarded a no-bid contract extension to PAE Government Services Inc. to continue working on Camp Simba in Kenya and Camp Lemonnier in neighboring Djibouti, U.S. Trade and Aid Monitor recently documented.
That $75 million base-support initiative will cost an additional $65 million for a nine-month extension.
USAID in its new program-support plan reiterated its strategy for Kenya, which aims to “foster a healthier, better-educated, and more productive population” as well as “increase the effectiveness of Kenyan institutions in promoting a vibrant private sector and democratic governance.”