USAID Sub-Saharan Africa, South Africa
In 1961, USAID became the first U.S. foreign assistance organization whose primary emphasis was on long-range economic and social development assistance efforts. With headquarters in Washington, D.C., USAID's strength is its field offices around the world. It works in close partnership with private voluntary organizations, indigenous organizations, universities, American businesses, international agencies, other governments, and other U.S. government agencies. Freed from political and military functions that plagued its predecessor organizations, USAID is able to offer direct support to the developing nations of the world. One big focus is Africa. The South African Government must ensure that the epic changes made since the country's first democratic elections in 1994 are consolidated and benefit most citizens. USAID focuses on strengthening small and medium-sized enterprises, creating employment, strengthening health systems, and addressing HIV/AIDS. And as progress is made, USAID is re-directing or phasing out its long-term programs in education, democracy and governance, and municipal service provision.
Central to USAID’s assistance programs in Africa are several initiatives to improve education, increase agricultural productivity, reduce government corruption, promote U.S. trade with Africa, promote the use of information technology, and protect the Congo Basin Forest. USAID is winding down its community court program, which has improved management efficiency and significantly decreased case backlogs. As a final activity, USAID will support the formulation of a policy document and subsequent legislation that will promote the efficient governance of community courts. USAID is also assisting victims of violence, especially rape, under the Women's Justice and Empowerment Initiative. For the last 14 years, USAID has worked with the Department of Education and other partners to develop new school curricula and training methods. USAID provides technical assistance and training to help black-owned and -managed small businesses to identify new markets, increase production, improve management capacity, and secure financing to expand and create sustainable private sector employment.
Links to the health workforce crisis
To improve health status in Africa, USAID responds by focusing on increasing the availability, effectiveness, and access to quality health care, and on strengthening programs by developing, disseminating and advocating the adoption of state-of-the-art, Africa-appropriate approaches to health improvement. USAID works with businesses to establish workplace policies and provide treatment to employees, and nongovernmental and faith-based partners train local residents and support hospices that are helping people with HIV/AIDS. USAID is also working with the Further Education and Training institutions - which produce urgently needed skilled workers-to ensure industry-relevant career paths for students and increase the interaction between graduates and the private sector firms that employ them.
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