International affairs (1 - 10 of 273 items) in Custom Date Range
Department of State: Foreign Language Proficiency Has Improved, but Efforts to Reduce Gaps Need Evaluation
GAO-17-318: Published: Mar 22, 2017. Publicly Released: Mar 22, 2017.
Foreign language proficiency is a key skill for U.S. diplomats. For example, it helps the State Department effectively process visa applications and address security concerns. Yet, we've found that State has persistent shortfalls in this area—23% of its overseas positions that required foreign language proficiency were filled by staff that didn't meet the requirements (as of September 2016). St...
Export-Import Bank: Status of Dual-Use Exports as of August 2016
GAO-16-844R: Published: Aug 31, 2016. Publicly Released: Aug 31, 2016.
The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im) received five of six reports required by Ex-Im credit agreements on time for the three dual-use exports—goods that could be used for either defense or civilian purposes, such as satellites or construction equipment—it continued to finance in fiscal year 2014, and mostly followed its own guidance when the sixth report was not submitted on time...
Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: U.S. Assistance to Combat This Harmful Practice Abroad Is Limited
GAO-16-485: Published: Apr 27, 2016. Publicly Released: May 19, 2016.
U.S. and United Nations (UN) studies since 2010 have identified a variety of factors contributing to the persistence of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C). In many communities where FGM/C is prevalent, FGM/C is an influential social norm that ensures social acceptance and is commonly perceived as a religious obligation. In addition, medicalization of the practice— when it is performed by...
Building Partner Capacity: U.S. Agencies Can Improve Monitoring of Counter-Firearms Trafficking Efforts in Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico
GAO-16-235: Published: Jan 13, 2016. Publicly Released: Feb 2, 2016.
U.S. agencies and their implementing partners have undertaken a number of capacity-building activities that support counter-firearms trafficking efforts in Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico. The figure below outlines examples of the areas of effort under which these activities fall. Selected, in part, based on partner country needs, these activities include efforts to provide support in using the Bure...
Foreign Assistance: USAID Venture Capital Approach Relies on Evidence of Results but Could Strengthen Collaboration among Similar Programs
GAO-16-142: Published: Dec 21, 2015. Publicly Released: Jan 20, 2016.
From fiscal years 2010 to 2015, the U.S. Agency for International Development's (USAID) Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) program obligated approximately $72.5 million for innovation projects to reduce poverty across a range of sectors, including energy, health, and education. In India, for example, DIV funded intensive learning camps that group children by reading and math abilities rather th...
Iranian Commercial Activities: Update on Foreign Firms Reported to Have Engaged in Iran's Energy or Communications Sectors
GAO-16-247R: Published: Jan 13, 2016. Publicly Released: Jan 13, 2016.
GAO’s reviews of open sources published between December 2, 2014, and December 1, 2015, identified six foreign firms that were reported to have engaged in commercial activity in Iran’s energy sector during this time period. For five additional firms that GAO had previously identified as reported to have engaged in commercial activity in Iran’s energy sector, GAO found insufficient informatio...
Firearms Trafficking: U.S. Efforts to Combat Firearms Trafficking to Mexico Have Improved, but Some Collaboration Challenges Remain
GAO-16-223: Published: Jan 11, 2016. Publicly Released: Jan 11, 2016.
According to data from the Department of Justice's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), 73,684 firearms (about 70 percent) seized in Mexico and traced from 2009 to 2014 originated in the United States. ATF data also show that these firearms were most often purchased in Southwest border states and that about half of them were long guns (rifles and shotguns). According to Mexic...
Overseas Private Investment Corporation: Additional Actions Could Improve Monitoring Processes
GAO-16-64: Published: Dec 11, 2015. Publicly Released: Jan 11, 2016.
The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) provides loans, loan guarantees, and political risk insurance to private entities to support development in over 150 countries. In fiscal years 2008 through 2014, OPIC made 718 commitments worldwide valued at about $20 billion. OPIC committed the majority of this financing support to projects in Latin America and the Caribbean and in Sub-Saharan A...
Afghanistan: State and USAID Should Evaluate Actions Taken to Mitigate Effects of Attrition among Local Staff
GAO-16-100: Published: Dec 3, 2015. Publicly Released: Dec 3, 2015.
Resignations of Afghan local staff at the Department of State (State) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) after receiving a special immigrant visa (SIV) reached their highest level in 2014, and have had varied effects on the agencies' institutional knowledge (fig.). Resignations increased as more Afghan staff began the SIV application process than in the initial years of the...
Southeast Asia: Trends in U.S. and Chinese Economic Engagement in Indonesia and Vietnam
GAO-16-186: Published: Oct 29, 2015. Publicly Released: Oct 29, 2015.
Indonesia. In 2014, China's imports from, and exports to, Indonesia exceeded the United States' (see figure). The United States and China compete more often with other countries than with each other in goods exported to Indonesia and win contracts in different sectors. In contrast to the United States, which is not involved in a free trade agreement (FTA) with Indonesia, China is a party to a regi...