Grant Request Instructions and Proposal Format for Overseas Applicants
This paper is intended to help overseas applicants understand the U.S. Trade and Development Agency’s (USTDA) grant application procedures. USTDA does not have a standard application form or application deadline. Requests for assistance may be submitted at any time. However, the agency does require a letter of request with as much project supporting information as possible. You may use the information provided below as a guide in preparing your letter of request, but it is not mandatory to supply all the information initially. USTDA often helps project sponsors develop the scope or terms of reference for a grant activity, if such assistance is needed. In the information provided below, the project sponsor is defined as the overseas entity responsible for the follow-on policy implementation or project investment that will directly benefit from the results of the USTDA-funded activity.
USTDA grant funding is intended for services sourced in the United States. However, up to 20 percent of the agency’s funding for a particular activity may be subcontracted by the U.S. contractor to entities in the project sponsor’s country.
You will find below USTDA’s Mission Statement, information about its grant programs, and a suggested proposal format. We encourage you to contact us to answer any questions that you may have about the agency’s program or its operations in your country. The U.S. embassy or consulate in your country also may be able to help you.
Fundamentally, our program is designed to facilitate your access to U.S. technical expertise in the hope that U.S. solutions will be considered for project implementation. At the same time, there is no agency requirement for a recipient of USTDA assistance to purchase goods or services from the United States using its own funds for project implementation.
Some helpful definitions as used below follow:
“Activity” means a USTDA-funded study or technical assistance program.
“Contractor” is the U.S. firm selected by a host country project sponsor to carry out the terms of reference associated with a USTDA grant-funded activity.
“Project” means the actual objective to be achieved at the conclusion of the USTDA-funded activity.
“Project sponsor” is the overseas entity that will have responsibility for implementing the project.
“Proposal” means an activity concept that is submitted to USTDA for funding consideration.
USTDA’s Mission Statement
The U.S. Trade and Development Agency advances economic development and U.S. commercial interests in developing and middle-income countries. The agency funds various forms of technical assistance, feasibility studies, training, orientation visits and business workshops that support the development of a modern infrastructure and a fair and open trading environment.
USTDA’s strategic use of foreign assistance funds to support sound investment policy and decision-making in host countries creates an enabling environment for trade, investment and sustainable economic development. Operating at the nexus of foreign policy and commerce, USTDA is uniquely positioned to work with U.S. firms and host countries in achieving the agency’s trade and development goals. In carrying out its mission, USTDA gives emphasis to economic sectors that may benefit from U.S. exports of goods and services
USTDA’s Grant Program
One of the ways that USTDA delivers its program commitments is through grants to overseas project sponsors for technical assistance, feasibility studies, and training. A USTDA grant is provided directly to an overseas project sponsor who, in turn, selects a U.S. company to perform the USTDA-funded activity. The project sponsor may be a government institution at the national, state/provincial, or local level, or it may be a local private company.
USTDA accomplishes its mission by funding: 1) trade capacity building and sector development technical assistance; and 2) project identification and investment analysis. Trade capacity building and sector development technical assistance may support the establishment of industry standards, rules and regulations, trade agreements, market liberalization and other policy reform. Project identification and investment analysis involves activities including feasibility studies and technical assistance that support large capital investments related to overseas development.
The agency is open for business in more than 100 countries around the world. In certain nations, statutory, resource or policy constraints limit the availability of USTDA programs.
USTDA recommends that you first familiarize yourself with the agency’s mission and funding criteria. The USTDA Website (http://www.USTDA.gov) has a significant amount of information that will assist host country applicants, including an electronic version of USTDA’s brochure entitled “Project Sponsor Information.” This brochure is available in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Russian. After this, you may wish to contact the appropriate USTDA Regional Director or Country Manager by e-mail or letter to informally discuss your proposal.
General Proposal Guidelines
To initiate USTDA consideration of a proposal, an overseas project sponsor should submit a request directly to the agency. USTDA does not have a standard application form or application deadline. Requests for assistance may be submitted at any time. However, the agency does require a letter of request with as much project specific supporting information as possible. The information provided below should be used as a guide, and it is not mandatory to supply all of the information at the time of your initial request. USTDA often helps project sponsors to develop the scope or terms of reference for a grant activity if such assistance is needed.
A. Executive Summary. A concise summary of the proposal, including the specific objective of the USTDA-funded activity.
B. Project Description. A brief description of the project’s technical, economic, and financial prospects.
C. Project Sponsor's Capabilities and Commitment. A demonstration of the project sponsor’s commitment to project implementation and ability to implement the project.
D. Implementation Financing. A discussion of the financing options for project implementation, including:
1. An overall cost estimate, proposed ownership and financing structure, and schedule for project implementation; and
2. Evidence that financing is available or likely to be available for the project.
E. Imported Content. A list of the procurements that are likely to be subject to competitive tenders in which international suppliers can participate and a list of the equipment and services that are likely to be imported for project implementation.
F. Developmental Impact. A description of the most important benefits that the project will provide to the country where it is located.
G. Impact on the Environment. A statement on the likely consequences the proposed project might have on the environment.
H. Justification. An explanation of why USTDA’s funding is needed.
I. Terms of Reference (TOR). The TOR for the proposed USTDA-funded activity, setting out the primary tasks to be accomplished. The TOR for an infrastructure activity typically includes, at a minimum:
- The purpose and objective of the study or technical assistance.
- A technical assessment.
- An economic analysis of the project.
- A financial analysis of the project.
- An appropriate environmental analysis of the project.
- A review of the regulatory issues related to the project.
- An analysis of the key development impacts of the project in the country where it is located.
- An implementation plan.
- A final report.
USTDA Operating Procedures
USTDA’s due diligence review of a proposal it receives from an overseas project sponsor involves two steps. First, USTDA staff conducts an internal review to determine whether the proposal represents an appropriate opportunity for USTDA support. Second, proposals that satisfy this internal analysis are independently assessed by either a USTDA-funded definitional mission (DM) or desk study (DS) consultant. This analysis is based on:
- The priority the project sponsor attaches to the project, and if it is infrastructure specific, its likelihood of receiving implementation financing; and
- Whether the project offers mutual economic benefit for the country where it is located and the United States, including potential opportunities for commercial cooperation with U.S. firms.
A DM provides a detailed evaluation of a particular proposal, and involves travel to the designated country. A DS provides analysis of a detailed proposal, usually with an existing terms of reference, and is produced within the United States. Both DMs and DSs are carried out by small U.S. firms that are not permitted to perform USTDA grant-funded activities associated with proposals that they previously evaluated for the agency.
If USTDA approves funding, it signs a Grant Agreement with the overseas project sponsor. The grant recipient then selects a U.S. company to perform the work, generally through a competitive bid process, and signs a contract with that entity to carry out the USTDA-funded activity. Both the Grant Agreement and contract contain the terms of reference that outline the parameters of the activity.
USTDA Contact Information
Requests for USTDA assistance from overseas project sponsors should be sent to the agency by either mail delivery or by e-mailing email@example.com. USTDA’s mail delivery address is as follows:
U.S. Trade and Development Agency
1000 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 1600
Arlington, VA 22209
U.S. Trade and Development Agency
Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Office
15 Chaplin Road
Illovo, Johannesburg, 2196, South Africa
Telephone: +27 (11) 778-4800
Facsimile: +27 (11) 268-6104
U.S. Trade and Development Agency
Asia Regional Office
U.S. Embassy Thailand
Diethelm Tower A, Suite 303
93/1 Wireless Road
Bangkok, 10330 Thailand
In addition, host country project sponsors are encouraged to send their requests for USTDA assistance through the U.S. embassy or consulate in their respective countries.