I recently traveled to Southern California to meet with many of the region’s innovators, thought leaders and like-minded global partners. I left energized with new possibilities and a considerable to-do list.
A highlight was meeting Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. As Los Angeles prepares to host the Ninth Summit of the Americas in June, USTDA and the Mayor pledged to work together to link local companies, especially small businesses, to Latin America’s considerable infrastructure opportunities in areas such as smart cities and urban planning.
In nearby Coachella Valley, I was honored to deliver remarks at the International Economic Development Council’s Leadership Summit. I discussed how USTDA’s project preparation tools help emerging economies develop more resilient global supply chains through infrastructure that can better withstand severe weather and the impacts of climate change. Through our Making Global Local initiative, we look forward to making more of IEDC’s members aware of our results-driven mission.
Finally, I want to thank the U.S. Department of Commerce and White House Intergovernmental Affairs Office for their support of this trip. Our collaboration is truly enabling a more diverse and equitable access to the U.S. government’s export ecosystem.
Ambassador Vinai Thummalapally (Ret.)
U.S. Trade and Development Agency
In This Issue:
Emerging Markets Turn to "Value for Money" in Public Procurement
Public procurement is often one of the main stumbling blocks to quality infrastructure.
The most common procurement issue in emerging markets is a lowest-price approach that does not consider value for money. With many governments only focusing on the tendering phase of the procurement process, the acquisition planning, market research and contract management phases tend to get overlooked. This dramatically hinders foreign countries’ ability to develop sustainable, quality infrastructure that lasts.
To help emerging markets with these challenges, USTDA launched the Global Procurement Initiative (GPI) in 2013 in collaboration with The George Washington University’s Government Procurement Law Program and several multilateral development banks. The goal of the GPI is to help governments make smarter, long-term investments that generate savings over time and improve the outcomes of infrastructure projects. This is done through technical assistance and teaching procurement best practices through customized in-country workshops, online webinars, and other training forums.
With Thailand joining the initiative earlier this month, the GPI now boasts 15 partner countries that collectively invest $1.3 trillion in public procurement annually. Demand for the GPI is growing. We expect to expand the initiative to another five countries for a total of at least 20 partner countries by 2026.
One of GPI’s longstanding partners is Brazil. In fact, USTDA recently announced a five-year expansion of its partnership with Brazil’s Ministry of Economy that will enhance best practices in public procurement across all levels of government. Under our partnership, USTDA is funding three new technical assistance activities that will help Brazil meet the goals of a recently enacted public procurement law that reflects many of the GPI’s core principles. Ultimately, this cooperation will result in more modern, sustainable and resilient infrastructure for the people of Brazil.
USTDA is changing how foreign partners procure their infrastructure. By encouraging open, transparent competition, the GPI helps level the playing field for international competition, leading countries to implement higher value, more inclusive, and more innovative public procurements for goods and services.
The GPI has an exciting year ahead. Follow the latest GPI developments and learn more about how USTDA, The George Washington University, and other partner organizations are helping foreign partners develop smarter and more sustainable infrastructure.
Southern Mexico: ICT Underpins
Information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure has benefits beyond the economy: it builds and connects communities. In Mexico, where approximately 72 percent of the population enjoys broadband access, lower penetration rates in the southern part of the country pose a challenge to the region’s overall development. This connectivity gap leaves some rural communities underserved and slows economic diversification. Accelerating inclusive, secure, and sustainable connectivity across the region will be foundational to its economic growth. Investments in digital inclusion will help the region meet its fast-growing demand for broadband capacity while invigorating local industry and building stronger communities.
Southern Mexico has an ambitious slate of digital infrastructure plans underway that are laying the foundation for sustainable growth and development. For instance, the state of Tabasco is addressing the need for improved digital connectivity by developing a master plan to help improve its fiber-optic infrastructure and overall ICT ecosystem. In Quintana Roo’s state capital, Chetumal, a free trade zone and an ICT-enabled smart city project are set to attract private sector investment, while the state’s northeast region will soon house a subsea fiber-optic cable landing point that will enhance the region’s cross-border connectivity.
A common thread across these projects is the commercial potential for U.S. suppliers of ICT goods and services. USTDA’s newly released “ICT Infrastructure Project Opportunities Resource Guide” spotlights these ICT opportunities, among others from across Mexico. USTDA is building on this effort by engaging with project sponsors to develop new project opportunities for U.S. private sector engagement in various facets of southern Mexico’s ICT sector.
Bridging southern Mexico’s digital divide will not only enhance connectivity – it will have transformational impacts on the well-being of the region’s economy, industry and communities. USTDA is striving to support this important priority.
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