U.S. Development Assistance to the Sahel--Progress and Problems

ID-79-9: Published: Mar 29, 1979. Publicly Released: Mar 29, 1979.

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The Agency for International Development (AID) is participating in a long-term effort to help the peoples of eight Central and West African countries, called the Sahel, protect themselves from the vagaries of nature by providing assistance in the achievement of some measure of economic and social development. Since 1974, AID has provided $374 million, of which $135 million was for food assistance.

AID lacks a current regional development strategy identifying what it wants to accomplish in the Sahel and outlining clearly how to achieve its objectives. A better working arrangement between the Sahel development planning team, responsible for overall regional issues, and those field missions responsible for country activities is necessary. The AID delivery rate is slow and improvements in project management are needed. The AID design system also requires substantial improvement. AID needs to make a greater effort to link food assistance to the long-term development of the Sahel to achieve dual humanitarian and development objectives.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

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

    Recommendation: The Administrator of AID should: (1) emphasize the implementation phase of development assistance; (2) establish procedures to shorten the design and approval process and provide for more timely initiation of development projects; (3) give special consideration to the methods for managing regional development projects and defining the relationships between regional management systems and bilateral country missions; and (4) use food assistance allocated to the Sahel more effectively.

    Agency Affected:


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