Our Work

While Southern Africa has seen significant economic growth, 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, USAID has 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. USAID’s regional program is headquartered in Pretoria, South Africa, and complements country-specific programs by addressing cross-border issues and common development needs. 

Southern Africa has taken steps towards greater regional integration in areas such as economic growth, resource management, and social service provision, but has yet to solidify these gains. Throughout all of USAID/Southern Africa’s development objectives there is a concerted effort to improve regional collaboration, capacity, and economic competitiveness.  The Mission’s ultimate goal is to create the conditions where its work is no longer needed. This goal can only be attained if the assistance delivered strengthens the local actors and institutions that are ultimately responsible for transforming the Southern Africa region. As such, the USG, through USAID’s regional strategy and assistance agreements, will commit to strengthening the capacity of Southern African regional organizations. The Mission views regional economic, social, and political integration as key to the lasting success of development efforts in the region, including the work of USAID’s bilateral missions. Being able to move goods across borders, peacefully settle disputes regarding cross-boundary resources, and share best practices from one country to the next will create an environment for sustainable growth.

Reducing poverty is a key objective of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), but it is unlikely that any SADC country will achieve all eight of the Millennium Development Goals by the 2015 target date. Significant threats to the quality of life of Southern Africans exist in all countries in the region, whether they relate to the lack of respect for rule of law and basic human rights, policies that hinder growth, or lack of access to adequate health care. All of these challenges can be addressed through a regional approach that complements bilateral efforts. Many of the foreign assistance programs presented in this strategy will capitalize on the Mission’s strategic partnership with the Government of South Africa as a regional success and donor nation in its own right. South African private and civil society sectors will also be key partners in achieving the objective of this strategy.

Central to the Mission’s goal is the importance of regional integration, which benefits several countries through synergies of regional approaches and effectively addresses development challenges that are truly regional in nature. The Mission’s development objectives reflect this regional integration through a cross-cutting program that address food security and climate change; the role of migrant populations, regional networks, and health systems in the fight against HIV/AIDS; rule of law and human rights issues that are regional in nature or too politically sensitive to handle on a bilateral level; and quality administrative and support services, technical assistance, and human capacity development that supports USAID operations and greater non-governmental organization capacity across the region. These development objectives were created through ongoing collaboration with regional US Embassies and USAID missions and in consultation with international donors working in the region. Moreover, the implementation of the strategy is consistent with the standards of USAID Forward, ensuring that USAID/Southern Africa focuses on strengthening regional organizations and local organizations throughout the region, including those in South Africa, and enhancing their capacity as implementing partners.

The four Development Objectives (DOs) presented in this strategy are:

·         DO1: Increased sustainable economic growth in targeted areas

·         DO2: Reduced impact of HIV/AIDS on the region

·         DO3: Improved rule of law and respect for human rights

·         Special Objective 4: Effectively support USAID Missions and programs

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Last updated: November 17, 2015

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