BCIU has been a pre-qualified Indefinite-Quantity Contractor (IQC) for the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) since March 2006. BCIU participates in a competitive bidding process to manage orientation visits, conferences, and training programs for USTDA.
These programs concern developing and middle income countries from all regions of the world, working to build their capacities in various industries including energy, telecommunications, water and waste management, aviation, healthcare, and technology, among other sectors.
Once awarded a contract, BCIU is responsible for the implementation, which often includes a series of meetings, site visits, roundtables, conferences, and receptions with the visiting delegations. This affords BCIU member companies various opportunities to meet with the delegates as part of the BCIU programming and membership service offering.
Past Government Contracts Awarded to BCIU:
USTDA sponsored a 14-day Reverse Trade Mission for officials from the Vietnam Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) in February/March 2011. The MIC is the policy-making and regulatory body for the press, publishing, telecommunications, internet, IT products and services, broadcasting, and national information infrastructure. MIC acts as a facilitator and coordinator of technology adoption throughout the government. BCIU organized the Reverse Trade Mission, which included meetings with U.S. companies and government agencies involved in e-Government policy, implementation, solutions and strategy.
The Reverse Trade Mission introduced senior officials from the Vietnamese Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) Directorate for Information Technology Applications Promotion (DIAP) to U.S. government enterprise architecture (EA) best practices. EA is a governance structure and methodology that dictates how information technology (IT) is implemented and used to improve business operations. Vietnam received a number of loans to support IT development throughout the country, notably a $107 million World Bank Vietnam ICT Development Project loan (VNICTDP). Coordinated by MIC, VNICTDP was to be executed across several government entities, but was delayed due to MICís lack of familiarity to develop an EA that outlines standards for e-government interoperability and equipment procurement procedures. To support MIC in their effort to create an EA framework, the RTM focused on U.S. government EA standards, security procedures, data center management and equipment uses. Support for this effort greatly benefitted U.S. suppliers who were actively pursuing IT loan opportunities in Vietnam.
The Reverse Trade Mission introduced EA models and best practices to support DIAPís efforts to design a government wide policy standard based on specific industry technology solutions. In addition, the visit facilitated progress in e-government adoption by addressing technical and interoperability issues, as well as encouraged unified planning and procurement approaches. The delegationís priorities presented opportunities for U.S. suppliers interested in Vietnamís ICT sector.
Vietnam Financial Information Management Reverse Trade Mission
USTDA sponsored a Reverse Trade Mission for Financial Information Management Modernization to introduce senior officials from the State Bank of Vietnam to U.S. central bank operations and best practices. The delegation also learned about the information and communications technology (ICT) systems used in the management and supervision of the sector.
In April 2009, the World Bank provided $71.8 million in funding a Financial Sector Modernization and Information Management System (FSMIMS) project. BCIU organized the RTM, which included visits to New York, Washington, D.C. and California. The visit directly supported SBV, the Credit Information Center (CIC), and Deposit Insurance of Vietnam (DIV) to develop a centralized and integrated ICT platform, which may encompass business opportunities for U.S. ICT providers.
Kenya Cyber Security Reverse Trade Mission
USTDA sponsored a 14-day Reverse Trade Mission for officials from the public sector in Kenya. The objective of the activity was to expose decision-makers from several agencies of the Kenyan government with responsibility for information and communications technology (ICT) to U.S. best practices and innovative technologies at a critical time in the growth of the countryís ICT infrastructure. BCIU organized the Reverse Trade Mission, which featured meetings with U.S. companies and government agencies involved in cyber security policy, implementation, solutions and strategy.
Kenyaís connection to the internet was greatly enhanced with the connection of the SEACOM cable in summer 2009 and the 2010 connection of the EASSy cable. However, with increased connectivity came increased potential for computer-based crime. While Kenya was not a hotbed of internet fraud, there were several signs that cyber crime was on the rise in the country. A report by the Central Bank of Kenya indicated that commercial banks were losing an average of 100 million Kenyan Shillings (about $1.3 million) to fraudulent activities. In addition, the amount of fraud was increasing with fiber connectivity and greater use of technology by banks. With mounting evidence of increased vulnerabilities, the Government of Kenya was poised to learn of possible strategies for improvements to its cyber security infrastructure.
East African Community e-Health Workshop
The U.S. Trade and Development Agency hosted a technical workshop for the countries of the East African Community (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi) on various aspects of e-health in November 2010 in Kigali, Rwanda. The goal of the Workshop was to bring together decision-makers from both the public and private sectors responsible for overseeing and delivering healthcare solutions to East Africa to learn about policy issues, technology issues and broadband solutions that would enable the improvement of healthcare infrastructure and delivery via the use of broadband technology. The Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU) worked with USTDA to organize the important event, which incorporated both collaborative and instructive sessions.
The connections of the SEACOM and EASSy cables drastically increased connectivity and reduced prices for broadband in the region. Countries such as Kenya and Tanzania, which were inland from the landing site, were working to connect their internal networks to the submarine cables. As the physical build-out was being completed, decision-makers were turning their attention to the next phase of development, which was to utilize the bandwidth to provide better services to their populations.
The Workshop focused on both policy and technical elements. Assessing policies that can support an enabling environment for e-healthcare solutions, as well as discussions of e-health areas such as telemedicine, electronic medical records and healthcare information systems were explored. Case studies were utilized to illustrate best practices.
Indonesia Search and Rescue Orientation Visit
USTDA sponsored an Orientation Visit for twelve officials from Indonesiaís Badan SAR Nasional (National Search and Rescue Agency, BASARNAS) in May 2010. The delegation was comprised of senior BASARNAS directors and department heads responsible for identifying equipment and training needs for the agency. The objective of the visit was to highlight U.S services and technologies for search and rescue efforts, first response capabilities, resources and facilities. BASARNAS, an independent agency with national responsibility for leading search and rescue efforts, sought to improve first response capabilities by upgrading their resources and facilities. Indonesia is prone to natural disasters and has a history of aviation and maritime incidents. BASARNAS had a budget allocation of $170 million over two years to procure helicopters, communications and IT systems, and training services to properly respond to incidents throughout the country. The visit offered significant opportunities for U.S. companies.
ASEAN Clean Energy Trade, Technology and Investment Forum
The U.S. Trade and Development Agency hosted an ASEAN Clean Energy Trade and Investment Forum in April 2010 in Manila, Philippines. The goal of the forum was to address issues related to clean energy development in the region, including the adoption of policies and technologies that enhanced efficient power production with a focus on pollution reduction. The event also supported ASEAN Secretariat efforts, through the ASEAN Centre for Energy (ACE), to make environmentally friendly energy production a priority for all ASEAN members. The Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU) worked with USTDA to organize and host the event.
The conference included participation of senior government and energy sector officials from ASEAN economies. Panel sessions addressed energy development in the region, effective policy mechanisms and financing options. Case studies were utilized to explore best practices, and one-on-one meetings between ASEAN representatives and U.S. industry participants took place. Topics were project-focused and addressed resources and technologies including hydropower, solar, wind, geothermal, biomass and coal bed methane development. In addition, discussions on project management and implementation were highlighted. The ASEAN Clean Energy Trade and Investment Forum provided a forum for ASEAN representatives as well as U.S. industry and government experts to promote accelerated planning of clean energy development.
Vietnam National Intelligent Highway System Orientation Visit
USTDA sponsored an 8-day Orientation Visit for officials from the Ministry of Transport (MOT) of Vietnam and Vietnam Expressway Corporation (VEC). The objective of the visit was to highlight U.S services and technologies for project management, construction, investment, maintenance, operation and toll collection for new highways. BCIU organized the Orientation Visit in August 2009, which included site visits to high occupancy tolling lane operations; meetings with U.S. manufacturers; and government agencies involved in regulating and funding highway projects.
Highway system infrastructure was a priority for The Government of Vietnam in an effort to support economic growth to achieve 10-year national socio-economic goals. Vietnamís economic growth and growing population has strained the highway systems and created severe congestion and traffic issues. The limited highway capacity, inefficient management and routine flooding of highways during the monsoon season increased transportation costs and travel time for commuters, as well as the movement of goods. In an attempt to develop solutions for the increasingly problematic highway system, the Prime Minister of Vietnam issued a formal decision on December 1, 2008, approving a Highway Network Development Plan (2009 to 2020), which outlined 3,649 miles of highway roads needed to connect major economic regions, border gateways and important transportation nodes with specific focus on a north-south highway road system. Within this plan the Ministry of Transportation (MOT) identified 22 individual projects worth more than $10 billion, of which $250 million was needed to procure intelligent road systems such as tolling systems, back office systems, operations centers, congestion management and related software applications, highway signage, and pilot traffic management solutions. These projects represented significant opportunities for U.S. companies.
Morocco and Algeria Water Orientation Visit
USTDA sponsored a 10-day Orientation Visit for public sector water officials from Morocco and Algeria in October 2009. The objective of the visit was to highlight topics designated as critical for the wastewater and desalinization industry; improve the quality and usage of reclaimed water in the Maghreb; help the water authorities properly contain and account for their supply of water to the public; and present the delegates with information on current and future trends in the wastewater and desalinization industry. Challenges in managing its environmental and water resources are of great concern to Maghreb, which offered significant opportunities for U.S. companies across the region. The trip included site visits to municipal water treatment facilities; meetings with U.S. manufacturers; and government agencies involved in regulating and funding wastewater treatment and desalinization projects.
Colombia: Satellite Technologies Orientation Visit
USTDA sponsored a 5-day Orientation Visit for representatives from the Colombia Satellite Program for Earth Observation, Colombian Space Commission (CCE), who were interested in an earth observation satellite procurement for the Colombian Geographic Institute. BCIU organized the Orientation Visit in March 2010 with the objective of showcasing U.S. technology and services.
West Africa ICT Road Map to Opportunities Conference
The U.S. Trade and Development Agency, the U.S. Department of State and the Government of Ghana sponsored the West Africa Road Map to Opportunities Conference from July 8 to 10, 2008 at the La Palm Royal Beach Hotel in Accra, Ghana. BCIU organized the conference, which was to promote dialogue on the development of the ICT sector necessary to support West Africaís economic development.
The conference agenda addressed key policy issues and highlighted efforts to expand telecommunications infrastructure; improve delivery of government services; and support the growth of e-commerce. In particular, the event was focused on regional market creation and cross-border cooperation on wireless technologies and included an examination of ICT in the areas of e-Commerce and e-Government in West Africa.
Project sponsors from West Africa at the event provided U.S. company representatives with details on new export and investment opportunities associated with 16 projects ranging in value from $1 million - $450 million. Participating countries at the event included Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Gabon, Ghana, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and Sierra Leone. The projects presented included opportunities for commercial partnerships in expanding communication networks; developing fiber optic backbone networks and submarine communications systems; implementing solutions for rural connectivity; and the provision of e-Government; e-Learning, and telemedicine services.
China Healthcare Information Technology Orientation Visit
USTDA sponsored a 12-day Orientation Visit for twelve representatives from Chinaís Ministry of Health and various hospitals, with the objective of showcasing U.S. technology and services in the healthcare sector. BCIU organized the Orientation Visit from February 24 to March 8, 2008.
The purpose of the OV was to promote U.S. exports and provide technological solutions for China to further develop its healthcare infrastructure. To assist the overwhelmed healthcare system, officials from China hoped to gain insight to improve the coordination among agencies that play a role in the healthcare system; upgrading healthcare infrastructure; reforming the hospital system to promote efficiency, equality, and quality of care; and realigning health costs by promoting laws to encourage the development of a health insurance system.
The itinerary for the OV comprised site visits and meetings with U.S. companies and U.S. government agencies to investigate U.S. healthcare policy, implementation, and innovation.
ASEAN e-Government and ICT Projects Orientation Visit
USTDA sponsored a 12-day Orientation Visit for government and industry representatives from selected countries within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The aim of this visit was to explore U.S. capabilities, experiences and practices in the implementation of e-government and information and communications technology projects.
Several major projects in the ICT sector with procurement opportunities totaling over $1.5 billion, were being pursued by ASEAN countries. This OV provided decision-makers from these countries an opportunity to investigate U.S. capabilities, experiences, and practices in the implementation of e-Government and other ICT sector projects. The OV also allowed U.S. companies with an interest in these procurements to highlight their expertise in the sector.
BCIU organized the visit from December 2 to December 15, 2007, which included meetings with U.S. Government representatives, associations, and U.S. companies specializing in e-Government technology.
Europe Regional Emergency Management and Response Conference
USTDA sponsored a Europe Regional Emergency Management and Response Conference from October 29 to 31, 2007 in Budapest, Hungary. To increase their capabilities for handling both natural and man-made disasters, the countries of Central Europe and Turkey were interested in modernizing their emergency management and response systems. However, millions of dollars of investment was needed in order to replace and upgrade monitoring, warning, and command and control systems. Governments represented at the conference included Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, the Slovak Republic, and Turkey.
In addition to USTDA, other U.S. Government agencies represented included the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Weather Service, the U.S. Forestry Service, the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Export-Import Bank, and the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance.
China Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) e-Government Capacity Program Orientation Visit
USTDA sponsored a 12-day Orientation Visit for 14 officials from Chinaís Ministry of Commerce. The aim of the visit was to upgrade MOFCOMís on-line electronic systems related to government rules, regulations, and procurement opportunities through the inclusion of advanced information technology systems. BCIU organized the Orientation Visit from June 10 to 22, 2007, meeting with U.S. Government representatives, associations and U.S. companies specializing in e-government technology.
Serbiaís Telecommunication Regulatory Agency (RATEL) Training
BCIU provided RATEL training on key telecommunications regulatory frameworks, skills. Training was to assist RATEL to implement regulatory procedures in accordance with established guidelines from legal, policy, and regulatory perspectives.
The program commenced in November 2006 with meetings with stakeholders to identify issues and priorities for RATEL. In January 2007, six RATEL delegates visited the U.S. for an intensive two-week regulatory training program. The final phase of the program comprised of onsite training and assistance in Belgrade.