Can More Be Done To Assist Sahelian Governments To Plan and Manage Their Economic Development?

NSIAD-85-87: Published: Sep 6, 1985. Publicly Released: Sep 6, 1985.

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GAO studied the capability of the Sahel Governments of West Africa to plan and manage development efforts in their countries and to administer and coordinate donor assistance. The study was conducted to aid in addressing the issue of whether the Agency for International Development (AID) should provide more of its funds to strengthen the governments' management capabilities.

GAO found that: (1) the governments have made little progress in reaching their economic development goals despite more than $13 billion in donor assistance since 1974; and (2) the Sahelians' weakness in management capability, aggravated by the multiplicity of donors working in each country, the complex administrative requirements accompanying their assistance, and the constraints to effective coordination of all the sources of assistance, is an important factor in their slow economic development and needs to be strengthened. GAO believes that it is important that donors attempt to: (1) improve host governments' capability to plan and manage their countries' economic development process; (2) coordinate assistance programs among donors, especially at the country level; and (3) minimize the administrative burden of donor programs on the governments. GAO also believes that: (1) while AID has done some work in this area, its current efforts must adequately consider the capabilities of the governments to improve their management skills with programs and projects aimed at meeting human needs; and (2) AID should continue to promote better coordination among donors and take the lead in coordination efforts in those areas, such as agriculture, where it is a key donor.

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