Coordinating U.S. Development Assistance:

Problems Facing the International Development Cooperation Agency

ID-80-13: Published: Feb 1, 1980. Publicly Released: Feb 1, 1980.

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Substantial changes have occurred in the activities and programs affecting development in Third World countries in the last decade. These changes and the increasing role of non-aid agencies in development activities have caused authority for development programs to be widely dispersed among Federal Government agencies and committees. The International Development Cooperation Agency (IDCA) was created to improve coordination of these activities.

The three major changes which particularly affect the coordination problem are: (1) a shift from U.S. bilateral aid toward more emphasis on multilateral assistance; (2) a shift from program assistance and integrated country planning toward more emphasis on project assistance; and (3) the increasing importance of non-aid activities such as trade and foreign investment. The creation of IDCA represents progress toward establishing an independent coordinator, but it is uncertain whether the agency can establish a separate, independent identity. The agency's director has the lead responsibility for the U.S. development policy in specified international organizations, and for development policy toward multilateral banks. However, its creation does not significantly affect the Government's ability to coordinate policies and programs on a country rather than a project basis nor does it affect much the development coordinator's ability to influence non-aid issues. While the new organizational arrangements could effect some improvement in the authority of the development coordinator, his power will remain limited. Therefore, the quality of the performance of the Agency Director and his staff will be critical to the success of the organization.

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