U.S. Energy Assistance to Developing Countries:

Clarification and Coordination Needed

ID-80-7: Published: Mar 28, 1980. Publicly Released: Mar 28, 1980.

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The United States, through several U.S. agencies and international organizations, has provided support and funds for programs to help developing countries solve their energy problems. However, the United States does not have a comprehensive U.S. policy on energy assistance activities in developing countries. A review was undertaken which focused on the activities of the primary operational agencies involved in energy assistance, and more specifically, on the activities of the Agency for International Development (AID) and the Department of Energy (DOE).

No clear statement on the relationship between the AID and DOE programs has been made, and full and effective cooperation between the organizations has not been achieved. AID has been the U.S. foreign assistance organization and DOE is the U.S. energy organization, but other U.S. organizations are, or will be, involved in energy assistance activities in developing countries. Such is the case where the State Department has primary foreign policy responsibility; however, the International Development Cooperation Agency (IDCA) manages U.S. overseas economic-development activities. Thus, there is a need for coordination to insure that assistance is used for maximum effectiveness. The International Development Cooperation Act of 1979, amending the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, can help resolve policy and organizational issues. It states that U.S. development assistance is intended to respond to developing-country energy needs by helping increase the use of indigenous energy resources, including renewable sources, that benefit the poor directly. In addition, interagency groups such as the Development Coordination Committee and the recently established Interagency Task Force on Accelerated Energy Production in Oil Importing Developing Countries, are forums for continuing communication which may also support policy development.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Director of IDCA, in conjunction with the Secretaries of State, the Treasury, and Energy, and the Administrator of AID, should ensure that a comprehensive policy on U.S. energy assistance activities in developing countries is formulated and promulgated. Additionally, the Secretaries of State, the Treasury, and Energy, and the Administrator of AID should work with the Director of the IDCA to accomplish the recommended actions. Also, as an integral part of policy formulation, the Director of IDCA should seek clarification, in the form of an Executive order from the President, of the roles and responsibilities of the involved organizations. Further, to help improve both coordination and planning, the Secretaries of State and Energy, together with the Director of IDCA, should determine the global need for the program and establish a plan to meet this need.

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