Senegalese Minister of Economy and Finance Amadou Ba and U.S. Ambassador James P. Zumwalt presided over the annual Joint Portfolio Review between the Government of Senegal and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) held June 23, 2015.
This yearly exercise closely examines implementation of USAID’s $119 million portfolio of projects in the areas of Health, Agriculture, Education, and Good governance to take stock of lessons learned and plan for activities in future years.
In his opening remarks, Ambassador Zumwalt hailed the “dynamic and sustained collaboration between USAID and the Government of Senegal” he’s seen since arriving in Dakar, and pledged to “strengthen our commitment” to improve the health and food security of families, get more children in school and reading earlier, and providing opportunities to Senegal’s work force.
For his part, Minister of the Economy, Finance and Planning Amadou Ba stated that the annual review is an important time to ensure the proper implementation of the cooperation program, identify major constraints and formulate the most appropriate solutions.
“Please relay to the authorities of your country the deep appreciation of the Government and people of Senegal for the progress and encouraging results achieved in 2014 through our joint cooperation,” Ba said.
In 2014, assistance from the United States in Senegal through USAID amounted to more than $119.5 million. These figures year four of the five-year program of cooperation signed in 2010. Mr. Ba highlighted high disbursement 86 percent disbursement of these funds during this cycle, which compares favorably with other donors.
In health, USAID support has helped to reduce infant mortality by 55 percent in the last 10 years, and training 10,000 community health workers to improve public access to services, among other achievements.
In agriculture, more than 78 000 households, or 113 000 farmers have benefited from technology and management training, which helped sales of up to 137,000 tons of grain, worth about $18.75 million.
By targeting illegal fishing and encouragement of the preservation of resources, USAID projects have helped put more than 603,000 hectares of marine and coastal resources under better management.
In Education, USAID supported special instruction for 10,500 students with reading difficulties, distribution of 600,000 reading books, and rehabilitation of two Regional Educational Staff Training centers.
In terms of good governance, USAID supported development of a new law regulating political parties, strengthened the leadership of women in 17 municipalities, and helped more than 2,000 students in the Casamance region acquire birth certificates.
Moving forward, the Government of Senegal and USAID will work this expand their assistance agreements, which are expiring next year, in a new five-year cycle, to more closely align with the new Plan for an Emerging Senegal, the country’s strategic vision for development through 2035.