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Director of U.S. Foreign Assistance
Framework for U.S. Foreign Assistance
  

Framework for U.S. Foreign Assistance

The Foreign Assistance Framework is an analytical tool aimed at targeting limited U.S.Government resources efficiently and effectively within countries and at the regional and global level. It categorizes each country receiving U.S. foreign assistance based on common traits, and places them on a trajectory of progress, with the ultimate intent of supporting recipient country efforts to move from a relationship defined by dependence on traditional foreign assistance to one defined by full sustaining partnership status. With this intent in mind, it focuses foreign assistance on maximizing country progress based on strategic priorities for country advancement rather than historical allowances. To this end, the framework:

  • Defines the primary goal for United States Government Foreign Assistance, which is to help build and sustain democratic, well-governed states that respond to the needs of their people, reduce widespread poverty, and conduct themselves responsibly in the international system.
  • Identifies the five strategic objectives (Peace and Security, Governing Justly and Democratically, Investing in People, Economic Growth, and Humanitarian Assistance) related to achieving that goal.
  • Defines five broad country categories of similarly situated countries based largely on independently measured indicators of country progress.
  • Helps identify which types of programs are best suited to help a country progress and focuses assistance on those most critical needs, based on the intersection of the objective and the country category.
  • Provides a unified point of reference for USAID and State to bring their respective expertise to bear, eliminate redundancies, and create opportunities for amplification.

Country Categories: The Strategic Framework identifies five broad categories (Rebuilding, Developing, Transforming, Sustaining Partnership, and Restrictive) of countries with similar political, economic, and social characteristics. Each category is associated with areas of emphasis for U.S. Foreign Assistance – whether it be investments in people and economic growth for "Transforming" countries or improvements in governance and democratic participation for "Developing" countries. While being "in" a category helps determine where to target assistance to maximize country progress, it has no direct effect on funding level.

Measuring Progress: Countries are placed into categories based on a set of objective indicators including governance, anti-corruption, attention to the human capacity of their people, economic growth, and income status. These vetted indicators are from the World Bank Institute, UNESCO, Freedom House, and other independent sources and are also used by the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). The indicators are analytical and objective, are comparable across countries, and are publicly available. For a list of indicators, please refer to the Millennium Challenge Corporation site.

Graduation Benchmarks: For Developing, Transforming, and Sustaining Partnership countries, income status or scores on the MCC indicators determine when a country is ready to graduate from one category to the next. Rebuilding countries graduate based on the achievement of a stable environment for continued development and security progress. Restrictive countries can graduate when a legislative or administrative policy determination has been made that governance issues have been sufficiently addressed.

The Framework and Foreign Assistance Levels: The framework is not used to determine funding levels for any individual country, category of countries or any particular strategic objective. However, the framework – and the underlying detailed program structure –can help keep budget decisions focused on strategic priorities and channel resources where they are needed most.

The highlighted cells in the framework indicate the implied concentration of resources by Country Category and Objective. The cells outlined in red indicate the concentration of MCC resources.

 

  
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