Are you an entrepreneur who wants to contribute to constructing 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 handed 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 with high development relevance in other sectors can also apply for DRIVE support.
Projects must be supportive of and built on the Dutch agenda for aid, trade and investment. For example, joining initiatives already 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 quality improvement of public infrastructure that improve the development of the private sector by promoting entrepreneurship, productivity and employment opportunities and lifting wages.
DRIVE is open for applications from companies all over the world. You cannot apply when your company is located in a country or active in a sector subject to United Nations or European Union sanctions.
Entrepreneurs who wish to qualify for a public infrastructure construction contract in one of the DRIVE countries may submit DRIVE applications.
To qualify for DRIVE, the project and your company should meet the following selection criteria:
- The project can show to contribute to private sector development. People can start entrepreneurship by improving the business climate, increasing employment and productivity. The project thereby enables people to better provide for themselves;
- You follow 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 can show it has the expertise, is reliable, and has the financial standing and stability to carry out the project.
How to apply
For information on how to apply, contact Invest International.
Types of financial support
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 financing 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, applicants must submit an O&M Plan during the DRIVE intake procedure.
DRIVE and D2B
DRIVE and Develop 2 Build (D2B) are programmes of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that promote development-related public infrastructure in countries specified on a list of eligible countries. Whereas most countries on the D2B list are Least-Developed Countries, the DRIVE list includes Lower-Middle and Upper-Middle Income Countries. Other significant differences are the target group, the project phase, and the financing.
DRIVE is open to companies wanting to participate in a tender to realise 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 developing project plans for public infrastructure with a high development relevance.
Official notices for DRIVE are published in the official government gazette Staatscourant.