Now that an $87 million African trade-promotion project is reaching the end of its five-year run, the Obama administration might spend millions more to decide whether it wisely invested U.S. taxpayer dollars in the venture.

If the Competitiveness and Trade Expansion, or COMPETE Trade Hub project, is deemed to have been effective, a follow-up program could receive more cash from the Treasury.

In this latest facet of a five-year U.S. Agency for International Development experiment in and around Kenya, the federal government will obtain contractor-conducted project evaluation services before committing additional funding.

USAID/East Africa wants to see if it had actually reduced barriers to “regional and international trade,” according to planning documents that WND discovered via routine database research.

The selected contractor also will report on whether the COMPETE project succeeded in increasing investment and trade between the U.S. and East Africa, the documents say.

Efforts to change “perceptions about doing business in Africa” were undertaken via the Origin Africa Campaign, a COMPETE-affiliated project whose aim was to “ramp up” U.S.-East Africa relationships.

The perception-management campaign sought to spotlight “African creativity and innovation to international buyers and industry leaders, hence putting Africa on the map as a preferred sourcing destination.”

The agency in 2011 internally conducted a COMPETE program evaluation. As a result, it established a new project-objective: “To build sustainable capacity for regional and international trade and food security.”

The upcoming evaluation, which will begin after the project ends Feb. 28, could provide “a basis for decisions about future programming.”

USAID did not disclose the estimated value of the contract; however, past evaluations of other agency initiatives cost from tens of thousands to the tens of millions. In July 2013, for example, the agency awarded a $23 million contract specifically to assess the effectiveness of USAID/Kenya and USAID/East Africa health programs.

Since 2012, WND has reported extensively on USAID’s self-described exponential growth in its Kenyan aid portfolio, which accelerated the granting of additional contract awards to even more project-management vendors.

Subsequent coverage also exposed a USAID scheme to methodically sway global media to report favorably on agency activities.

A WND investigation also discovered a cover-up of this particular activity; indeed, days after the report, the government eliminated all trace of these propaganda-plan documents from a publicly accessible database.

One of the more recent USAID endeavors was the enhancement of “the centralized health-care system in Kenya.”

In another recent but unrelated procurement action, the U.S. Embassy in Kenya soon will receive thousands of less-than-lethal wooden, foam, bean-bag, “liquid barricade” and other crowd-management projectiles and shot launchers for the Nairobi compound.

The U.S. Department of State had invited contractors to participate in the online bidding process beginning Jan. 27, according to a solicitation that State posted to the FedBizOpps database.

One day later, it issued a Kenya travel advisory to U.S. citizens, following reports of mass demonstrations by mini-bus operators known as Matutu drivers.

The acquisition of the crowd-control items likewise coincides with a Kenyan media report that U.S.-based fast-food corporations such as Burger King, McDonald’s and Pizza Hut may finally establish a presence in Nairobi.

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