Country Assistance Strategies

In early 2008, the Director of U.S. Foreign Assistance approved a new concept for developing "whole of government" country assistance strategies (CAS). The CAS process will produce a statement of overall USG foreign assistance priorities in a given country, regardless of funding source. The CAS concept is being tested in ten countries around the world: Tanzania, Mozambique, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Philippines, Armenia, Bosnia, Morocco, Nepal, Jamaica, and Honduras.

Images of recipients of U.S. aid around the world. People of developing nations.

Not every country receiving US foreign assistance will be required to complete a CAS. Generally, countries with very small or one-dimensional assistance programs would be exempted, as would certain countries already under intense interagency scrutiny (e.g. Iraq and Afghanistan.) A CAS will provide a clear sense of what the U.S. government anticipates can be achieved by the end of the five-year period. While long-term in focus, it is open to modification in response to unforeseen developments. A CAS will provide focus, not be a comprehensive description of all U.S. government foreign assistance interests or programs in a given country. The CAS will be based on consultations with the host government and other important stakeholders. While it is meant to inform budgetary decisions, the CAS will not serve as a resource request or performance management plan.

The desired result is improved strategic and programmatic coordination among the various departments, agencies, and other entities involved in implementing foreign assistance, both at headquarters and in the field. Making the CAS a joint effort between Washington and the field will ensure that the advantages of both perspectives—the field's superior knowledge of local conditions and Washington’s knowledge of policy, political and resource trends—are fully exploited and reflected in the document.

An evaluation of the pilot CAS experience will help refine the process of producing the CAS, as well as the content of the document itself, and will be used to develop comprehensive guidance for broader implementation.