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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

Deloitte, DAI battle for $80M contract goes to GAO

Deloitte is battling via a bid protest for an $80 million contract to support economic development efforts in southern Africa.

The USAID contract was won by Development Alternatives Inc. It’s a typical bid protest. Deloitte doesn’t like the decision and is questioning USAID’s evaluation process.

But what I like about this contract has little to do with the bid protest. It’s more that this contract is a great example of the breadth and depth of contractor support the federal government needs.

The purpose of the contract is to help increase global competitiveness and trade as well as improve food security in southern Africa. The contract covers work in 11 countries including South Africa, Angola, Botswana, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. The goal is to increase the access these countries have to global markets as well as encourage American companies to trade and invest in those countries.

The contract grew out of President Obama’s Trade Africa Initiative, which he announced in 2013.

Here are some of the things expected from the contractor:

  • Strengthen technical and management capacities of the Southern Africa Development Community secretariat and other groups the promote trade and food security.
  • Develop regional information sharing and monitoring networks
  • Provide technical assistance and training.
  • Support public and private sector partnerships.
  • Connect with other regional African trade hubs in eastern and western Africa.

The predecessor contract has been held by AECOM since 2010.

I’m not going to argue that this is a technology contract, but it is a contract that can’t function or succeed without a solid basis in technology. That’s why I think Deloitte is bidding. It is a chance to bring its consulting, analysis and technology expertise to bear.

Development Alternatives is a long-time player in the USAID market, but it also has increased its technical capabilities and touts its IT and communication skills on its website.

From the executives I talk to across the market, the common theme I hear is domain expertise coupled with technical skills. Companies need to understand and live the customer’s mission while bringing technical expertise to bear on the problem.

While the battle between Deloitte and DAI might be a bit more extreme than most we come across, it is still worth noting what it says about the need to combine domain expertise with technical skills.

The Government Accountability Office is expected to resolve the protest by July 18.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Apr 12, 2016 at 9:27 AM

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