Pre-award challenge to $2B USAID contract

The fight continues over a $2 billion USAID contract as Development Alternatives Inc. files a pre-award protest a year after USAID pulled back its original 10 awards to rework the solicitation for its flagship contract.

Development Alternatives Inc., one of the leading companies in the international development market, is continuing its fight for a spot on a $2 billion contract won by some of its biggest competitors.

The Economic Growth for Poverty Reduction contract was first awarded to 10 companies in June 2012 by the U.S. Agency for International Development. The contract is to support private sector involving in the developing world.

DAI didn’t make the cut then and filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office that led to the eventual withdrawal of the awards and restart the solicitation.

Other companies that protested at the time were Millennium Partners Consulting, Cardno Emerging Markets USA, Segura Consulting, Deloitte Consulting and Nathan Associates. Because USAID withdrew the awards, all the protests were dismissed by GAO.

USAID said last year that it would amend provisions of the solicitation related to price and evaluation. It would also clarify the definition of relevance. Bidders would be allowed to submit new and updated proposals. USAID would evaluate the new proposals and make new awards, according to GAO documents.

New awards haven’t been made yet, but DAI has filed a second pre-award protest challenging terms in the new solicitation.

I reached out to DAI and USAID, but so far no comments back.

With a $2 billion ceiling the contract is a crown jewel in U.S.-led international development efforts. In fact, USAID described it in the solicitation as its “flagship” instrument for working with companies, non-governmental organizations, non-profits, universities and research institutes.

About half of the $2 billion ceiling is reserved for work in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Sudan.

A decision from GAO is expected by Nov. 25. Meanwhile, USAID can continue to evaluate bids, but it cannot make awards while the protest is pending.

The original 10 winners were:

  • AECOM International
  • Abt Associates
  • Carana Corp.
  • Chemonics International
  • The Pragma Corp.
  • Bankworld Inc.
  • Banyan Global
  • Development & Training Services Inc.
  • Sibley International LLC
  • Weideman Associates Inc.

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