USAID Says More than 9% of Funds Going to Local Groups. Really?

September 26, 2012

This past weekend, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah said that by 2015 the goal is to have 30 percent of aid funds going to local groups. This is in line with the goals put forth in the USAID Forward reform agenda, which aims to reach this target agency-wide by 2015. Shah also made a surprising announcement regarding local procurement in Haiti, as reported in the Miami Herald:

Before the January 2010 earthquake, Shah said less than 9 percent of USAID money was going to Haitian organizations. “We’re over the pre-earthquake level now,’’ said Shah during an interview with The Miami Herald. He wasn’t more specific.

As we have noted numerous times before, according to the available data, it appears that far less than 10 percent of USAID funds have gone directly to local organizations. A review of data on USAID contracts for work in Haiti from the Federal Procurement Database System reveals that just 1.3 percent of USAID funds have gone directly to Haitian companies, as can be seen in Table I.

Table I: USAID Contracts by Recipient Location

Additionally, more than $500 million has been distributed as grants for Haiti related work. An analysis of available data from shows only 0.2 percent of this amount going to Haitian organizations, as can be seen in Table II.

Table II: USAID Grants by Recipient Location

Separate data released by USAID does show a slightly higher percent of funds going directly to Haitian organizations, but still far below even the 9 percent figure cited by Shah. In March, following a request made by HRRW, USAID released a list of “local partners” they work with in Haiti and how much funding they have received. The total was just over $9.4 million, still less than one percent of the nearly $1 billion spent by USAID since the earthquake.

It is possible Shah was referring to money going to Haitian organizations at the subcontractor level, yet the USAID Forward agenda envisions 30 percent going directly to local organizations, so this wouldn’t make sense. Unfortunately, as the Miami Herald noted, Shah “wasn’t more specific.”  A request for more information from USAID has thus far not been answered, but if more information becomes available, you can be sure it will be posted here.



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