Selling to the Government
Sales to the GDRC have been a major source of revenue for many companies operating in the DRC, given the significant contribution of government and parastatal agencies to the economy, the dominance of large trading houses, and the tendency of large private sector companies to buy directly from traditional external suppliers. There are many procurement opportunities in all sectors, but particularly in infrastructure, energy, health, education, and transportation.
- Securing projects can be difficult because ministries and parastatals have unclear and overlapping responsibilities, procurement procedures are unclear or non-existent, key figures play critical roles, and funding is often difficult to obtain. As a result, companies often seek agreements through specific ministries, parastatals, or the Office of the President. Patience and personal relationships are companies’ most valuable assets in such transactions. In the past, government procurement has favored low-cost bidders at the expense of more aggressive bid evaluation.
- The Autorité de Régulation des Marchés Publics (ARMP) is the regulatory authority for public procurement. ARMP is placed under the authority of the Prime Minister’s office. Its main objective is to regulate and control public procurement throughout the DRC. The Direction Générale des Marchés Publics (DGCMP) under the Ministry of Budget is responsible for the review and approval of bids for all public procurement programs. The World Bank finances its projects through several Congolese agencies, including the Central Coordination Office (BECECO), the Project Coordination Unit (UCOP), and the Central Infrastructure Contracting Office (BCMI). The DRC is a party to the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement .
- U.S. companies bidding on government tenders may also qualify for U.S. Government advocacy. A unit of the U.S. Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration, the Advocacy Center coordinates U.S. Government interagency advocacy efforts on behalf of U.S. exporters bidding on public sector contracts with foreign governments and government agencies. The Advocacy Center works closely with our network of the U.S. Commercial Service offices worldwide and inter-agency partners to ensure that exporters of U.S. products and services have the best possible chance of winning government contracts. Advocacy assistance can take many forms but often involves the U.S. Embassy or other U.S. Government agencies expressing support for the U.S. bidders directly to the foreign government. Consult Advocacy for Foreign Government Contracts for additional information.
Financing of Projects
Several bilateral and multilateral organizations finance infrastructure and development projects, including USAID, the World Bank, the United Nations Development Program, the European Commission (EC), China’s EXIM Bank, the African Export-Import Bank, and the African Development Bank (ADB). U.S. investors should explore procurement opportunities through these organizations.
Multilateral Development Banks and Financing Government Sales
Price, payment terms, and financing can be a significant factor in winning a government contract. Many governments finance public works projects through borrowing from Multilateral Development Banks (MDB). A helpful guide for working with the MDBs is the Trade Finance Guide. The U.S. Department of Commerce (USDOC) International Trade Administration (ITA) has a Foreign Commercial Service Officer stationed at each of the five different Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs): the African Development Bank; the Asian Development Bank; the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development; the Inter-American Development Bank; and the World Bank.
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