Development Assistance:

AID's Energy Programs and Debt-for-Nature Swaps

T-NSIAD-91-12: Published: Mar 6, 1991. Publicly Released: Mar 6, 1991.

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GAO discussed the Agency for International Development's (AID) energy assistance activities, focusing on: (1) whether AID helped developing countries meet their energy needs; (2) what priority AID gave to providing energy assistance to those countries; and (3) whether AID directed energy assistance activities toward minimizing the contribution to global warming. GAO noted that: (1) AID helped some developing countries meet their energy needs, but the extent of help varied substantially among individual countries; (2) AID directed about two-thirds of its energy assistance funding toward improving energy efficiency and conservation in developing countries; (3) AID assistance efforts helped to increase the private-sector role in the energy area and to direct multilateral development bank funding toward increasing efficiency, encouraging private-sector development, and improving the use of renewable energy sources; (4) energy assistance to developing countries remained a low priority for AID, accounting for 2 percent of its total assistance; (5) 1990 AID energy assistance funding was $206 million, with about 82 percent of it targeted toward developing countries; (6) AID limited energy assistance to low-cost technical assistance and policy activities; (7) AID addressed global warming concerns as one of many goals it was attempting to address with its energy assistance; and (8) AID has supported some debt-for-nature and debt-for-development swaps amounting to about $6 million for 8 countries through 1990.

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