By Ruari Phillips, Consultant
Aid funded business gives companies the chance to bid for sustainability projects across Africa. DFID Ethiopia are the British organisation overseeing development funding for this country and give entrepreneurs the chance to access exciting, live opportunities. Other East African nations have similar departments in Great Britain with most European countries and the US offering these types of call for action as well.
DFID Ethiopia work to develop and maintain longstanding relations between the United Kingdom, Ethiopia and Djibouti. The government body deals with a wide range of political, commercial, security and economic questions of interest. DFID Ethiopia currently offer aid funded business opportunities in feasibility studies, design, construction supervision, development of guidelines, civil work and water supply.
Through the DFID’s funding finder tool there is a list of current tenders to apply for. These projects are all sociably responsible and geared towards sustainable change in East Africa. As of 19th July 2018 there were 22 different business plan requests on the DFID website. Companies that apply must undertake a venture that tackles an issue such as poverty, emerging development challenges, girl’s education, improving agriculture and energy access.
The DFID have a number of top priorities in Ethiopia including economic development in the private sector, gender equality for women and tax collection capability. The DFID Operational Plan sets out how spending teams plan to deliver their allocated resources. They are used for management purposes and are also a good way for interested companies to understand what type of service will be accepted. The UK currently spends 0.7% of gross national income on international development, which is a lot, but these resources are targeted at very key areas.
Trade and investment remains one of DFID’s most fundamental responsibilities. Following the Millennium Summit of the United Nations in 2000, eight goals known as MDGs were set out to improve sustainability in developing countries. Ethiopia has made impressive progress towards reaching these MDGs and it continues to accelerate from aid dependency. That being said, Ethiopia still remains one of the world’s poorest countries with 25 million people in extreme poverty and 8 million people currently suffering from food shortage.
Empowering women and girls is a also a priority for the DFID. The Girl’s Education
Challenge (GEC) recently announced £100 million of further funding for projects that support some of the world’s most marginalised girls. This £300 million challenge was launched in 2012 and empowers adolescent girls through a range of activities such as catch-up-clubs, mentoring and training programmes. GEC is seeking innovative solutions to tackle these issues and more.
The Government of Ethiopia (GoE) are working closely with DFID Ethiopia to improve its economic landscape. Britain is the third largest donor to Ethiopia (after the World Bank and US) and is a respected thought leader among the development community. With low wage rates and comparatively low corruption, Ethiopia offers good value for money for investments in labour intensive services such as health, education and social protection. DFID Ethiopia promotes profitability within business and supports “trade before aid”. One of the main ways to get some of these countries out of poverty is self-sufficiency and good tax collection.
Although the DFID aim to support most projects, it needs a solid team, business plan and budget to be accepted. The government recently axed plans to fund a five-member Ethiopian girl band, saying there are “more effective ways” to invest UK aid. Officials are under pressure to prove that the more than £12bn it sends overseas each year is being well spent, particularly as domestic budgets are being squeezed. Ethiopia is the biggest recipient of UK foreign aid behind Pakistan, at £334.1m.
The Global Innovation Fund (GIF) provides grants, loans and equity of between £30,000 to £10m for social innovations to transform the lives and opportunities of people living in poverty. Funding is provided in 3 stages: pilot, test and scale. GIF are open to ideas from any sector and any country provided that the innovation targets those living on under $5, or preferably, under $2 a day. Headquartered in London and Washington D.C. GIF believe the best ideas for solving some of the world’s most critical problems can come from anyone and anywhere.
Business Call to Action (BCtA) is another partnership opportunity for companies developing innovative business models that offer commercial success and development impact. Member companies represent a diversity of sectors, including financial services, information and communication technology, agribusiness, manufacturing and extractive industries. Over 200 companies, ranging from multinationals to social enterprises, and working in 67 countries, have responded to the BCtA by committing to improve the lives and livelihoods of millions in developing countries.
The DFID offer many opportunities for social entrepreneurs. If you know your market and understand the different challenges in an emerging economy such as Ethiopia, it is an exciting chance to make an impact. Funding and support is available for any business or individual with a good business plan and solid experience of the country they want to help.