Are you an entrepreneur who wants to contribute to the construction of public infrastructure in a developing country? Whether you need support for a project concerning food security, clean water, sexual and reproductive health and rights or the climate, you may be eligible for a subsidy or guarantee from the DRIVE programme.
Update: As of 1 October 2021, the Netherlands Enterprise Agency has handed over this programme to Invest International. Find out more about this change.
Facilitating investments in infrastructural projects
With DRIVE, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs facilitates investments in infrastructural projects that contribute towards a good business climate and entrepreneurship in the priority sectors: water, climate, food security, and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). Public infrastructure projects that have a high development relevance in other sectors also can apply for DRIVE support.
Projects must be supportive of and built on the Dutch agenda for aid, trade and investment. For example by joining initiatives that have already been developed as part of Dutch development policy.
The overall objective of DRIVE is to contribute to inclusive and sustainable growth in developing countries. DRIVE supports investments in expansion and/or quality improvement of public infrastructure that improve the development of the private sector by promoting entrepreneurship, productivity and employment opportunities, and by lifting wages.
DRIVE is open for application from companies all over the world. You cannot apply when your company is located in a country or active in a sector that is subject to UN or EU sanctions.
Entrepreneurs who wish to qualify for a public infrastructure construction contract in one of the DRIVE countries may submit applications for DRIVE.
To qualify for DRIVE, the project and your company should meet the following selection criteria:
- The project demonstrably contributes to private sector development. By improving the business climate, people are enabled to start up an entrepreneurship whereby employment and productivity increase. The project thereby enables people to better provide for themselves;
- You undertake to comply with the OECD Guidelines on International Corporate Social Responsibility (ICSR) for multinationals when implementing projects. These guidelines set out what the Dutch government expects of businesses in their international activities;
- The project fits the policy objectives of the target country or region;
- The project meets the needs of the targeted end-users;
- Your company demonstrably has the expertise, is reliable, has financial standing and stability to carry out the project.
How to apply
For information on how to apply, contact Invest International.
For the period 2019 until 31 December 2021, a commitment budget of €150 million is available. The budget is fixed each year by means of publication in the Government Gazette. Projects are sized between €5 million and €60 million, including financing costs.
Types of financial support
The financial DRIVE support can include grants, guarantees and loans.
The subsidy is based on the DRIVE country's income category (OECD-DAC classification). The subsidy is expressed as a percentage of the nominal value of the loan for the financing of the DRIVE project. This percentage is a maximum of 20% for Upper and Middle Income Countries (UMIC), 35% for Lower and Middle Income Countries (LMIC), and 50% for Least-Developed Countries (LDC).
All financing costs, such as premiums and insurance, have to be included in the project budget. DRIVE does not cover the operation and maintenance costs. However, DRIVE wants to ascertain that the projected infrastructure will be sustainable in the long run. For this reason, an O&M Plan needs to be submitted during the DRIVE intake procedure.
DRIVE and D2B
Both DRIVE and Develop 2 Build (D2B) are programmes of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs aimed at promoting development-related public infrastructure in countries as specified on a list of eligible countries. Whereas most countries on the D2B list are Least-Developed Countries, the DRIVE list also includes Lower-Middle Income Countries and Upper-Middle Income Countries. Other important differences are the target group, the project phase, and the financing.
DRIVE is open to companies wanting to participate in a tender for the realisation of public infrastructure. It facilitates the financing of projects through subsidies, guarantees and loans, which can be awarded after an intake and assessment procedure, when both companies and projects fulfil all DRIVE requirements.
D2B also provides grants to local governments for the development of project plans for public infrastructure that have a high development relevance.
Official notices for DRIVE are published in the official government gazette Staatscourant.