Foreign Assistance:

Reforming the Economic Aid Program

T-NSIAD-93-20: Published: Jul 26, 1993. Publicly Released: Jul 26, 1993.

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GAO discussed the reform of the U.S. foreign assistance program in the post-Cold War era. GAO noted that: (1) Congress and the Administration need to reexamine foreign assistance objectives and agree on policy goals to permit budget and program flexibility to meet new challenges; (2) the proliferation of foreign aid objectives has seriously affected the Agency for International Development's (AID) ability to accomplish its mission and led to serious management problems; (3) the new Administration intends to narrow the focus of AID, but officials have not agreed on the specifics of the focus; (4) the role of AID as the lead agency for foreign assistance programs has been reduced because it lacks a strong and influential base within the executive branch; (5) AID development operations are being dispersed throughout the executive branch without interagency coordination; (6) AID needs to provide agencywide policy direction to its programs to overcome management problems; (7) AID lacks adequate controls and management systems to ensure that its decentralized operations are accountable to agency policies; (8) AID is implementing new management information and accounting and financial reporting systems that may have some problems; and (9) AID has not restructured its workforce to reflect administrative changes and lacks work-force planning and management systems to ensure that it makes the best use of its staff.

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