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USAID/Paraguay Strategy 2020-2025

This Project Appraisal Document (PAD) is the highest-level strategy document for USAID/Paraguay. USAID/Paraguay will continue to work to support Democracy, Rights and Governance activities in Paraguay with the primary goal of fighting corruption.

The PAD focuses primarily on building a culture of lawfulness to effectively tackle corruption by strengthening the rule of law, advancing a more formal economy, and improving civil society oversight of corruption. This PAD also includes as an integral part of the strategy, a complementary and cross-cutting Local Works activity to empower communities to assess their needs and lead their own development journey at the grassroots level.

RULE OF LAW

Paraguay's justice system faces significant challenges that undermine its capacity to hold individuals and the government accountable for their actions.  Despite unprecedented levels of transparency following the enactment of the Freedom of Information Law, considerable high-profile corruption cases have been unveiled. Yet a still weak and politicized Judicial system enables impunity, undermining Paraguayans' public support for democracy--which fell sharply from 66.9 percent in 2012 to 51.2 percent in 2019 (Americas Barometer)-- one of the lowest in the region.

USAID will support efforts to strengthen the capacity of justice sector institutions to effectively tackle corruption and impunity, while engaging other key stakeholders including the private sector, civil society organizations, and other relevant public offices. USAID works to strengthen the Rule of Law with a focus on increasing judicial independence and efficiency to foster the development objective of the improved culture of lawfulness to reduce corruption in Paraguay.

FORMALIZATION OF ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES

A large informal economy, which is fueled by corruption and a general culture of illegality, is an important impediment to Paraguay’s development. An informal economy enables continued inequality and prevents the benefits of economic growth from trickling down and resulting in inclusive economic growth. Women, youth, and other economic groups are particularly affected by the inequalities generated by an informal economy. 

USAID will work to advance a more formal economy through initiatives that promote incentives and the enabling environment for formal businesses to thrive. By engaging key stakeholders, USAID will leverage private sector support for market-driven solutions. USAID will also improve the Government of Paraguay’s capacity to foster the enabling environment for a more formal and resilient economy, with a focus on micro and small businesses, small entrepreneurs, informal workers, and startups or recovering companies, especially those managed by women, youth, and other vulnerable populations.

CIVIL SOCIETY OVERSIGHT

Sustainable development requires strong, yet responsible citizen oversight to detect corruption, and hold those responsible accountable for their wrongdoings. The media and some NGOs have been the driving force behind anti-corruption reforms in the last decade, but civil society writ large should be involved to effectively tackle corruption and impunity in Paraguay.

USAID will work to improve citizen oversight resulting in increased government efficiency in service delivery, and reduced corruption and impunity.

LOCAL WORKS

In Paraguay, disadvantaged groups are excluded and deprived of access to quality public services, including education, health, and economic opportunities, thus impeding social group equality.

USAID will work with grassroots organizations, with a special focus on women and youth, and other vulnerable populations, to help them self-identify their needs and lead their own development solutions, fostering ownership and empowerment, and building accountability and resiliency within the community and at the national level.

Last updated: February 17, 2022

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