Getting Involved in Global Development

The challenge for most firms and individuals desperate to participate in development activities is in understanding the intricacies with the process to secure involvement. Activities through agencies such as the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, are usually let through a public, competitive tendering process. Increasing this matter is the fact that in almost all cases, the process is different for every agency.

Myth - that the development marketplace is different.

Well of course it is, as are all industries - different clients, different products, different channels to promote, different cultures, different environments, different risks etc.

What makes it the same is the need to ensure client needs are met, if not exceeded, and that services are as desired/needed, not imposed.

So how would you become involved? Is it luck? It is skill? Is it people, services or products?

All and more I am certain.

A key step often required may be the need to demonstrate experience, understanding, value, sustainability of strategies etc to those assessing a tender.

Reality Check - Successful tenders must be compliant to the requirements of the request, must be price competitive, and need to find the balance between the technical requirements of the response and the selling nature of the process.

One of the most basic aspects of development initiatives is their ability to produce sustainable outcomes into the communities within which the activities take place. Consequently, learning from past activities assists to shape the appearance of future initiatives. For firms or individuals seeking participation, understanding how such learning could modify development approaches is a critical step in determining the type and level of involvement to target.

Fact - gaining knowledge from past activities is constantly on the shape future interventions.

The Development Market Today

The following points are a few key observations concerning the directions [approaches] being taken in the supply of development assistance. These directions have the potential to impact on any strategy organisations and individuals might adopt to enter, maintain, or increase their involvement:

• Funds are being diverted from government aid agencies to other government departments for sector-specific programs

• There is a continuing trend to devolve more decision making towards the offshore post of the donor country, out of the ‘central’ headquarters

• An rise in donor co-ordination and collaboration where, for example, the USA [through USAID] and Australia [through AusAID] might align program approaches in order to avoid duplication and other associated impediments, into a sector- wide approach

• A trend seeing more assistance being aligned to foreign policy where, for example, security and regional stability could influence aid disbursement

• Bilateral donors are opening their markets, allowing for individuals and organisations to compete for once closed opportunities

• There is an increasing trend for a move to larger activities, for example sector-wide approaches, instead of specific project interventions

• Scale and global reach is likely to be an essential criteria in winning and managing major programs

• Relationships and networks in country with donor representatives, recipient governments, local organisations and development professionals have become increasingly important.

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