President Obama recently joked that he should just “pack up and go home” if Congress is going to continue resisting his policies.
But before he heads back to Chicago, his administration plans to spend up to $400 million on “green” projects around the world, survey the satellite television viewing habits of Africans and simultaneously try to spark private-sector investment in the West Bank and Gaza, among other federal endeavors.
Improved access to “reliable and affordable clean energy” is the goal behind four U.S. Agency for International Development contracts targeting U.S.-designated “critical priority countries,” or CPCs, of Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, South Sudan and Yemen.
The $400 million figure is the maximum that can be spent over five years via “indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity,” or IDIQ, contracts awarded to Dexis Consulting Group, ECODIT LLC, International Resources Group and Tetra Tech.
The vendors on behalf of Obama will attempt to improve regulation and governance of those nations’ energy sectors, according to the original solicitation.
Ultimately, USAID hopes to achieve “low carbon development” in the CPCs. One way it may accomplish that task is by “facilitating innovative financing approaches” to clean energy projects, it said.
Separately, environmental industry consultants are getting free airfare and hotel rooms for a trip to Beijing and other Chinese cities courtesy U.S. taxpayers.
The selected contractor will conduct a “definitional mission,” or DM, to explore potential business opportunities. The U.S. Trade & Development Agency will finance the trip through a $60,000 grant.
According to a Statement of Work for the China Environmental Sector Opportunities DM, China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection “requested USTDA assistance with pollution reduction activities with recognition of U.S. expertise and technology leadership in this sector.”
Meanwhile, the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors is soliciting bids from potential contractors to assess satellite TV consumption in the African nations of Nigeria, Ethiopia and Zambia.
The insights gained from the survey will help BBG design future TV and audio broadcasts in the region. The BBG already offers Voice of America radio and is engaged in various partnerships with digital and online media organizations, according to its website.
Sparking private sector growth in the West Bank and Gaza is the objective of The Trade Project, a USAID initiative for which Deloitte Consulting LLP secured a $20 million three-year contract with two one-year options.
Deloitte will devise a plan to help increase trade and investment, ensuring that the region “is economically integrated into the global economy.”
The following projects and awards represent a sampling of other recent contracting actions, global and domestic, under Obama administration departments and agencies. The list is by no means comprehensive, nor does it necessarily contain the largest or most outlandish federal projects of the federal government.
Reducing the former Soviet republic’s reliance on the oil sector is the motivation behind USAID’s Azerbaijan Trade Linkages and Agribusiness Strengthening, or ATLAS, project.
ATLAS will rely on a contractor – who stands to secure a three-year contract worth about $18 million – to help the Caucasus-region nation’s agricultural sector while also devising strategies to diversify the overall economy. The agency acknowledged, however, that the procurement “is subject to internal USAID approvals and the availability of funds,” according to a solicitation.
USAID envisions the removal of bureaucratic barriers “that hinder the development of micro, small and medium enterprises [or SMEs] in the non-oil sector.”
A $22 million, five-year contract will go to a USAID contractor to carry out the Restoring Efficiency to Agriculture Production, or REAP, program in the nation of Georgia. The agency’s goal is to boost rural-area employment and income, which it hopes to achieve by providing assistance to SMEs “to support improved agricultural productivity, marketing, and processing.”
The integration of gender equality into large-scale energy development projects in Ghana will result in the awarding of contracts to private-sector consultants who will be tasked with providing technical support on such matters to the Millennium Challenge Corporation. MCC, a U.S. government corporation, will hire the contractors to work with its Social and Gender Assessment team. It did not disclose an estimated cost.
Increasing industry “growth, employment, and resiliency” in Jordan’s tourism sector are the goals of a $9.6 million contract that USAID awarded to Chemonics International. Chemonics will attempt to accomplish the goal “by enhancing the perception of Jordan as a tourism destination in a very competitive international marketplace.”
Romania wants to modernize its oil and gas fields, so USTDA plans to pay a U.S. energy industry consultant $65,000 to craft a report on potential business opportunities in that nation. This “definitional mission” will help the agency decide whether to devote additional funds to carry out more detailed reports or to provide other technical assistance to Romania.
The Energy Department of South Africa wants to launch a “smart metering” infrastructure project in Ekurhuleni, a metropolitan municipality of over 3 million residents – and USTDA is offering a $695,000 grant to a consultant to travel there and perform a “feasibility study” of the proposed plan.
A multi-day scuba-diving expedition along the coast of the Southeast Asian nation of Timor-Leste will cost the National Marine Fisheries Service about $82,000. The NMFS, a unit of the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration at the U.S. Department of Commerce, for two weeks will rent a “live-aboard” charter boat for six divers who will assess the abundance, size and diversity of a coral reef.
The Smithsonian Institution will spend up to $2 million on new cases to display “textiles, wallpapers, drawings, prints and three dimensional objects” in the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York City.
The Federal Highway Administration needs a contractor to run its Summer Transportation Internship Program for Diverse Groups, which seeks “promote the entry of women, persons with disabilities, and members of other diverse groups that have been traditionally underrepresented in the transportation industry.” FHWA did not disclose the estimated cost.