USAID's local spending: 3 key country-level trends

By Lorenzo Piccio 26 June 2015

A beneficiary of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Entrepreneurs Project in Pakistan. In 2014, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Jordan were among only 12 USAID missions to exceed the 30 percent local spending target. Photo by: USAID Pakistan

As the U.S. Agency for International Development pivots to the mantra of “100 percent sustainability,” early this week, a Devex feature analysis found that the world’s biggest bilateral donor agency seems off track on its target to channel 30 percent of mission program funding to local organizations by fiscal 2015. That target, which agency officials now refer to as “aspirational,” was a key goal post of then-USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah’s USAID Forward reform drive.

USAID’s just released data reveals that the agency directed 16.9 percent of mission program funding to local organizations in fiscal 2014, well below its 30 percent local spending target the following year. USAID’s local spending share in fiscal 2014 fell slightly from 17.9 percent in fiscal 2013 — the first time that that the agency has recorded a drop in its local spending share since USAID began reporting that figure.

While the latest data suggests that USAID’s 30 percent local spending target may be out of reach at least in fiscal 2015, deeper analysis of the country-level data reveals significant variation in how the agency’s missions worldwide performed on the 30 percent target. Here are three key trends we uncovered over the course of our analysis.

This graphic shows how USAID missions around the world performed against the 30 percent local spending target in fiscal 2014. Click here to view a larger version of the graphic.

Strategic partners exceed 30 percent target, with one notable exception

As Devex first reported last year, U.S. foreign policy considerations seem to be as much of a driver of where USAID goes local the furthest as host country readiness. USAID’s fiscal 2014 data suggests that still holds true. Afghanistan, Pakistan, Jordan — three of Washington’s closest strategic allies and biggest recipients of U.S. foreign aid — were among only 12 USAID missions to exceed the 30 percent target that year.

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About the author

Lorenzo Piccio@lorenzopiccio

Lorenzo is a contributing analyst for Devex. Previously Devex's senior analyst for development finance in Manila, he is currently an MA candidate in international economics and international development at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington. Lorenzo holds a bachelor's degree in government and social studies from Wesleyan University.

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