Last year, USAID's mission in Malawi completed a five year, $700m Country Development Cooperation Strategy that promotes integrated development with the goal of “Malawians’ quality of life improved” and three objectives: Social Development Improved, Sustainable Livelihoods Increased, Citizen Rights and Responsibilities Exercised. This new strategy furthers USAID’s commitment to development partnership with the government and people of Malawi based on true accountability and collaboration.
Mauritania’s economy rests on deposits of iron ore and rich coastal waters that are under threat from over-fishing by foreigners. It is one of the poorest countries in the world, but Mauritanian life expectancy is significantly higher than the average for sub-Saharan Africa. Although many children do not complete primary school, girls are as likely to achieve this milestone as boys.
Following a long civil war, Mozambique has made the transition to peace, stability and sustained economic growth, providing an essential link between landlocked neighbors and the global marketplace.
Its ties to South Africa’s industrial heartland underscore the fact that the country’s economic, political and social progress is vital to the interests of the region. However, the high prevalence of HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, as well as high infant mortality, have resulted in the distressingly low life expectancy of just 42 years.
Niger, an emerging democracy landlocked in the increasingly unstable Sahel region, consistently ranks at or near the bottom of the United Nations Human Development Index of all countries. Despite increased economic growth catalyzed by an expanding extractive industry sector (including uranium, gold, and petroleum reserves), poor infrastructure, extremely low education levels, and multiple concurrent natural disasters due to the country’s vulnerability to climate change have limited broad- based development.
Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa with a population of over 173 million. In 2012, the country’s economy grew at a rate of 6.5 percent, largely fueled by oil revenues. It is the sixth largest exporter of oil in the world. However, amidst the indicators of progress, the country is still troubled by myriad socioeconomic problems.
Republic of the Congo
The Republic of the Congo is relatively rich in natural resources, including forests, oil and other mineral resources, and it has the deepest port in Africa. A civil war in 1997 led to years of unrest, but stability has now returned. However, the country continues to struggle to restore democratic governance. More than 80 percent of the population is literate, and primary education is widespread among both girls and boys.
Rwanda is a small, landlocked country with a population density that is among the highest in Africa. It is one of the world’s poorest countries but much has changed since the 1994 genocide that killed over 800,000 people. The country has made remarkable progress in developing national and local government institutions, maintaining security, promoting reconciliation and strengthening the justice system.
Significant chronic vulnerability in the Sahel has taken hold as a result of a combination of factors, including poverty, marginalization, weak governance, low rainfall, population pressure and high population growth, food price volatility, and climate variability.
In 2011, irregular rainfall combined with civil conflict, high food prices and shocks such as locust infestation rendered more than 18 million people food insecure, according to FAO.
In an effort to move beyond just addressing the symptoms of these factors, the Sahel Joint Planning Cell (JPC) was formed to bring together the expertise of both USAID humanitarian assistance and development assistance actors in finding innovative and collaborative ways to build resilience among vulnerable populations in the Sahel.
Since the end of the civil war in 2002, Sierra Leone has been steadily rebuilding physical, social and health infrastructure. However, the challenges of endemic corruption, high youth unemployment, inadequate services, and widespread poverty are still critical impediments to progress.
Since 1991, Somalia has essentially been a collapsed state. The social costs of war have been enormous, leaving Somalia with some of the lowest human development indicators in the world. In 2011 and 2012, the worst drought that East Africa has seen in 60 years led to famine in southern Somalia, uprooting thousands of families and putting millions at severe risk. Food security has improved, largely driven by humanitarian assistance.
USAID is working to increase stability and reduce the appeal of extremism in Somalia through programming that fosters good governance, promotes economic recovery and growth, offers youth skills training, and works to increase social cohesion through improved community with government relationships. Our programs are planned and carried out with local partners in the context of Somali culture and values.
Almost two decades after the end of apartheid, the South African Government continues to uphold the rights of its citizens and to invest heavily in the wellbeing of its people. South Africa plays a key economic and political role on the continent, but faces many challenges, including unemployment, HIV/AIDS, crime and corruption.
Fighting that erupted in the capital of Juba in December 2013 plunged the Republic of South Sudan into its most severe crisis since it became independent on July 9, 2011, following decades of civil war. Thousands of South Sudanese have been killed and traumatized in atrocities committed in the months following the outbreak of violence and more than 1.7 million have been displaced from their homes – more than 10 percent of the country’s population. This includes more than 450,000 who have sought refuge in neighboring countries and nearly 100,000 who have sheltered at United Nations compounds in South Sudan and are afraid or unable to return to their homes.
USAID has worked in South Sudan for decades, providing lifesaving humanitarian assistance, conflict mitigation assistance, and support for key milestones of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which culminated in South Sudan’s independence. USAID has helped South Sudan establish foundational institutions and processes of governance, provided essential services for citizens, including education, health, water and sanitation, infrastructure such as roads, bridges and electricity, and economic growth support, particularly for South Sudan’s promising agriculture sector, resulting in significant development gains for this fledgling nation.
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South Sudan Transition Strategy: Summary (pdf,125kb)
South Sudan Transition Strategy: Full (pdf,1.2mb)
Southern Africa Regional
While Southern Africa has seen significant economic growth achievements, the overall number of people living in poverty has grown over the past two decades. Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, and South Africa have some of the highest levels of income inequality in the world. Since 1995, we have maintained a regional program in Southern Africa that has evolved over time to address the changing development challenges of the sub-region. Our programs increase trade and strengthen regional economic ties, address the HIV/AIDS crisis, mitigate food insecurity, and support democratic processes.
Sudan was the largest country in Africa and the Arab world until 2011, when South Sudan became an independent country. It sits at the crossroads of sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, with fertile lands, abundant livestock and natural resources. Since independence in 1956, Sudan has faced highly complex development challenges, but is key to stability of the region.
Swaziland is a small country almost completely surrounded by South Africa. Due in large part to its geographic position, the economy is heavily dependent upon trade with South Africa. The country has a relatively high per capita income, but nearly 70 percent of the population lives in poverty. Most high-level economic activity is conducted by non-Africans living in Swaziland. Primary education is widespread among boys and girls.
U.S. assistance supports Tanzania’s national development goal to build public and private capacity to foster a healthier, prosperous and secure nation through accountable, democratic government that responds effectively to the needs of its citizens.
USAID’s wide-ranging work supports U.S. policy objectives in peace and security, democracy and governance, health and education, economic growth, and humanitarian assistance. We implement three major U.S. presidential initiatives in Uganda: Feed the Future, the Global Health Initiative and the Global Climate Change Initiative.
Last updated: December 12, 2014