Dec. 12, 2004 D.C.-based Chemonics International, a development consulting group, has won a $30 million, three-year federal contract to work with business owners and government officials in Ghana to build that country's trade exports. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) hired Chemonics to advise Ghana on regulatory reform and help industries as well as individual business become more competitive in international markets. Chemonics (www.chemonics.com), which has 2,000 workers in 96 countries, employs 450 at its D.C. headquarters. The company's revenue grew to $226 million in 2003 from $188.3 million the year before. The Ghana contract is a sizable win for Chemonics. Just eight of the company's 54 new contracts in 2003 were worth more than $10 million (with this year's numbers still to be tallied).
"It's a very nice piece of business for us," says John Strattner, Chemonic's senior vice president for Africa.
The contract is also significant, he says, because foreign companies that have used the war-torn capital of the Ivory Coast as a port are beginning to look at Ghana as an alternative gateway to western Africa.
Chemonics provides advice on industries such as agribusiness, finance and health care, as well as on governance and private-sector development.
The company works almost exclusively for USAID overseas, including in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Private international development consulting companies abound in the Washington area, where they work alongside non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and nonprofits.
For-profit companies are able to implement the kind of intense, localized projects the other entities can't.
"USAID and the World Bank and some of these larger entities, they don't do micro-anything," says Dan Griswold, the director of the Center for Trade Policy Studies at the Cato Institute. "Who better to consult on private-sector development than the private sector?"