International Development Opportunities

Every year, international financial institutions provide tens of billions of dollars in loans and grants for development programs and projects around the world. Companies in British Columbia can use these opportunities to build their experience and contacts in world markets.

Institutions such as the World Bank and the Asia Development Bank are the largest source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries. Borrowing countries use the revenue to procure the goods, equipment, and services they need to carry out development plans and stimulate economic growth.

International development projects, which range across all sectors from agriculture to telecommunications, aim to improve the social and economic conditions for people living in emerging economies. They also present a broad range of export opportunities for Canadian companies, as either prime contractors or secondary suppliers.

Reliable Business Practices

When international financial institutions (IFIs) provide project funding, they require that bidding, procurement, and project delivery follow specified guidelines. This means that IFI-funded projects present lower risks to British Columbia companies entering and expanding in markets in developing countries:
  • Vendor selection follows a fair and transparent process
  • Contracting is standardized
  • Project scope is clearly defined and communicated
  • All projects have an ethical development objective
  • Vendors' receivables are protected


Over $238.8M was directly awarded to Canadian organizations for World Bank financed projects between 2007 and 2011. Sizable opportunities also exist for B.C. companies to supply goods and services for projects awarded to non-Canadian firms.


While IFIs provide the funding and process guidelines, the borrowing country's executing agency - often a ministry or other government entity - is usually responsible for the bidding, procurement, and implementation. The executing agency must carry out these activities according to the rules and procedures laid down by the donor agency. This means that, as a supplier to an international development project, you will be operating under the transparent and fair guidelines set out by the IFI.


Subcontracting Opportunities

Small- and medium-sized businesses in British Columbia can enter or expand their business into a developing country by subcontracting to prime contractors. Get information about international development projects and the organizations that specialize in them from the following sources:


Devex, a global social enterprise, is an excellent source of business information about international development. Devex has details about tenders, projects, business advice, and news from the World Bank, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DFID), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and more. Basic information is available for free, but a subscription is required for full access to the complete Devex project database.

Search Devex projects and tender opportunities around the world.

International Development Banks

You can learn about business opportunities by searching recent announcements by the major development banks. These announcements indicate upcoming requests for proposals by the borrowing countries' executing agents.

Visit the websites of the following organizations to see bid opportunities for approved projects in different countries:


Canadian-Based International Development Organizations

The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) administers foreign aid programs in developing countries and operates in partnership with other Canadian and international organizations in the public and private sectors. Check out the opportunities at CIDA.

The BC Council for International Cooperation (BCCIC) is a coalition of British Columbia's voluntary international development organizations and their local branches. These organizations are committed to achieving sustainable global development in a peaceful and healthy environment, with social justice, human dignity, and participation for all. Discover opportunities with the BCCIC.

Numerous Canadian-based international and non-governmental organizations provide humanitarian and emergency aid around the world. The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service provides further information on the following major international and non-governmental organizations: