The Obama administration is launching a program with the ambitious goals of sparking business investment, reducing investment risks, and creating and sustaining new jobs.

However, the beneficiaries are Middle Eastern and North African nations, not workers in the United States, WND has discovered.

The MENA Investment Initiative, or MENAII, “will provide needed support to early stage businesses in order to create and sustain jobs,” according to a Request for Information, or RFI, that WND discovered via routine database research.

The U.S. Agency for International Development issued the RFI to determine which companies already have a presence in the region. Responses to the RFI will enable USAID to assess the capability of such firms to help USAID administer the program.

The provision of matching capital to private-sector investors is one of the primary strategies the agency intends to leverage, according to the RFI.

USAID also will subsidize the insurance policies of the investors, partly shifting investment risks onto U.S. taxpayers.

The provision of the “100 percent Cash Collateralized Insurances” will “encourage increased investments” in the region by reassigning some of the risk burden from private firms to the U.S. government, the RFI says.

Providing an unspecified level of technical assistance to investors as well as to “investment recipients” is the third component of MENAII.

Among the types of assistance that USAID and selected contractors could provide are investment management and business development services, branding and marketing, product design, research and development, and regulatory compliance.

USAID did not disclose the estimated the cost of the program. Since the agency only requested information – and did not solicit proposals or quotations – it is not yet obligated to award contracts.

But the agency in an unrelated endeavor awarded the first in a series of Human and Institutional Capacity Development, or HICD, contracts. The aim of the HICDpro for Critical Priority Countries, or HICDpro CPC, initiative is to increase the organizational effectiveness of USAID program recipients.

HICDpro ultimately could draw $800 million from the U.S. Treasury, depending on how many indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity, or IDIQ, contracts it awards over the next five years. Up to $500 million could go toward HICDpro CPC, while another $300 million is slated for Non-Critical Priority Countries, or non-CPCs.

Various specialty publications and international development contract-notice services have reported on the unveiling of the program. However, an exhaustive Internet search shows that no media outlet other than WND has reported on the costly initiative.

WND in 2012 mentioned the launch of the HICDpro endeavor as part of a broader report on Obama’s Global Health Initiative, an eight-year, $56 billion program. Among the aims of the endeavor was the distribution of condoms to reduce unwanted pregnancies and to curtail the spread of HIV/AIDS.

HICDpro contractors could establish in-country offices in selected nations, where they will assess the ability of state, local or national organizations and institutions to function effectively. Eventually contractors could train those groups to self-monitor.

Selected contractors for HICDpro CPC include Chemonics International, contract award no. AID-OAA-I-13-00050; Development Alternatives International, contract award no. AID-OAA-I-13-00048; Management Systems International, contract award no. AID-OAA-I-13-00049; Social Impact Inc., contract award no. AID-OAA-I-13-00054; and SSG Advisers, contract award no. AID-OAA-I-13-00055.

USAID awarded the contracts in September but did not announce them until October.

The agency separately announced Dec. 2 the awarding of HICDpro non-CPC contracts, which had been handed out several weeks earlier.

Selected vendors include Mendez England and Associates, contract award no. AID-OAA-I-13-00043; Social Impact Inc., contract award no. AID-OAA-I-13-00045; The Pragma Corporation, contract award no. AID-OAA-I-13-00046; International Business & Technical Consultants, Inc., contract award no. AID-OAA-I-13-00051; The Kaizen Company, contract award no. AID-OAA-i-13-00052; and IBI International, contract award no. AID-OAA-I-14-00003.

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