Foreign Assistance:

U.S. Efforts to Spur Panama's Economy Through Cash Transfers

NSIAD-93-56: Published: May 10, 1993. Publicly Released: May 10, 1993.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Joseph E. Kelley
(202) 512-4128
contact@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

GAO provided information on economic aid to Panama, focusing on cash grant programs implemented pursuant to the Dire Emergency Supplemental Appropriation Act.

GAO found that: (1) the Agency for International Development (AID) has not justified the size and composition of Panama's economic aid package with sufficient documentation; (2) although AID believes that the economic assistance program has been a success, the Panamanian economy began recovery before U.S. economic assistance was introduced; (3) AID could not determine the impact of private- and public-sector programs on the Panamanian economy, standard of living, debt, and unemployment due to unspecified target areas, delays in program implementation, and the lack of implementation guidelines; (4) Panama's economy began to recover once political and economic burdens were removed; (5) Panama's gross domestic product was restored to nearly pre-1987 levels and grew by about 9.3 percent in 1991 despite delays in cash grant program implementation; (6) AID needed to thoroughly analyze targeted countries' economies, set economic reform conditions, and withhold funds until conditions were met before providing assistance; and (7) AID assistance could have been effective if private-sector reactivation funds were disbursed after economic reforms were implemented.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Agency officials indicated that new guidance was issued in May 1994 concerning project and non-project assistance (cash transfer payments are classified as non-project assistance). This new guidance stipulates that all missions must incorporate strategic objectives abd measurable indicators of projects for all efforts (non-project as well as project assistance). This new guidance is in response to the Re-engineering Government effort based on the National Performance Review. Agency officials said that not all missions have complied, but they are working with them.

    Recommendation: The Administrator, AID, should require that cash transfer program assistance approval documents, including those not directly linked with policy reform objectives such as the Private Sector Reactivation Program, contain: (1) specific program objectives; (2) time frames or milestones for their accomplishment; and (3) expected impacts to facilitate measuring program success.

    Agency Affected: United States Agency for International Development

 

Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Sep 28, 2016

Sep 27, 2016

Sep 22, 2016

Sep 20, 2016

Sep 7, 2016

Aug 31, 2016

Aug 25, 2016

Aug 15, 2016

Looking for more? Browse all our products here