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.
Due to meager educational infrastructure, only 40 percent of Mauritanian youth complete primary school and 60,000 students drop out of school each year. As Mauritania imports about 65 percent of its food, rising world food prices threaten economic and food security – particularly for the 42 percent of the population which lives below the poverty line. Furthermore, longstanding ethnic tensions and the presence of extremist groups pose ongoing security challenges, threatening the stability established since the 2009 democratic elections (following a 2008 military coup).
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 50 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. In 2013, the country’s economy grew at a rate of 5.4 percent, largely fueled by oil revenues. It is the fifth largest exporter of oil in the world. However, amidst the indicators of progress, Nigeria is still troubled by myriad socioeconomic problems. The greatest constraints to development are deeply entrenched poverty and unemployment. These conditions breed disaffection in youth, provide an entry point for Islamic extremism, entice corruption, and promote ineffective governance.
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.
West Africa’s Sahel is an arid band stretching 1.1 million square miles from Senegal to Chad with limited annual rainfall. This zone has a combustible mix of deeply rooted chronic poverty, food insecurity and recurrent drought that drive the same vulnerable communities into crisis year after year.
In the past decade, Senegal has progressed significantly both economically and politically as a moderate, democratic, predominantly Muslim country in fragile West Africa. However, poor infrastructure, longstanding underinvestment, and an inhibiting policy environment continue to challenge growth.
With the Government of Senegal, USAID improves lives by creating jobs, improving access to education and health care, strengthening democratic institutions, and developing the agriculture sector to increase production and incomes.
With a population of approximately 6 million, Sierra Leone is a low-income country and one of the least developed in the world. The country’s GDP per capita is only $254, leaving 73% of Sierra Leone’s rural population in poverty. Women and girls feel the impact of this poverty disproportionately, with customary laws and widely held cultural and social beliefs acting as significant ongoing barriers to women’s full integration into the decision-making sphere at the household, community and national levels.
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 in 2011, following decades of civil war. Thousands of South Sudanese have been killed and traumatized and more than 2 million have been displaced from their homes, including more than 500,000 who have sought refuge in neighboring countries and more than 100,000 who are sheltering at United Nations compounds in South Sudan.
Approximately half of South Sudan’s population—6.4 million people—are projected to be food insecure in early 2015, including an estimated 2.5 million facing crisis and emergency levels of food insecurity.
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 provide essential services to the people of South Sudan, such as health care and education, built key infrastructure such as roads and bridges, supported agriculture initiatives, and established the basic foundations of critical institutions.
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.
USAID Provides Additional Emergency Food Assistance to Millions of Sudanese People
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.
Tanzania's political stability, sound economic management and considerable resources all contribute to the country’s great potential for sustained growth. Driven by tourism, mining, trade and communications, the private sector has grown considerably, with economic growth averaging seven percent since 2000.
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: November 19, 2015