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South Africa Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and who funds it?
- Why do the United States and the American people give money to help people in other countries?
- How long has USAID been working in South Africa?
- Which sectors does USAID focus on in South Africa?
- How much money has USAID provided to South Africa?
- How does USAID make funding decisions?
- How can I get a job with USAID/Southern Africa?
- How can our organization access USAID funding for programs in South Africa?
- We have an idea for a development project in South Africa. Can we submit an unsolicited proposal to USAID?
- Who are USAID/Southern Africa’s current partners, grantees, and contractors?
- Will you send me some general information on USAID activities in South Africa?
- I would like to ask permission to use materials (images) from your website in my presentation or publication.
USAID is an independent agency of the U.S. federal government that provides economic, development, and humanitarian assistance around the world in support of the foreign policy goals of the United States. USAID receives overall policy guidance from the U.S. Secretary of State. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy signed the Foreign Assistance Act into law, creating by executive order what is now known as USAID.
With headquarters in Washington, USAID has field missions in Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and the Near East, Latin American and the Caribbean, and Europe and Eurasia. USAID operates in over 100 countries around the world and manages a budget of approximately $9.5 billion.
The American people provide funding for USAID through their taxes. USAID funding is allocated from the U.S. Federal Budget approved by the U.S. Congress.
Related links: www.usaid.gov
The United States has a long history of extending a helping hand to people overseas struggling to make a better life, recovering from a disaster or striving to live in a free and democratic country. It is this caring attitude that stands as a hallmark of the United States around the world – and shows the world our true character as a nation.
U.S. foreign assistance has always had the two-fold purpose of furthering America’s foreign policy interests by expanding democracy and free markets while improving the lives of the citizens of the developing world.
Development is now a crucial pillar (along with diplomacy and defense) of the U.S. Government’s national security strategy. For over 40 years, USAID programs have helped to improve the lives of the poor in developing countries and to lessen the kind of poverty and disenfranchisement that can feed international terrorism and the flow of illegal immigrants.
USAID programs also work on transnational issues such as global climate change and HIV/AIDS that affect us all.
USAID programming in South Africa began in 1979, through the Human Rights Fund which supported non-governmental organizations working on human rights activities. A more comprehensive program was established in 1986 and assisted South African victims of apartheid through scholarships, the human rights fund, and economic support programs for disadvantaged South Africans. In 1986, USAID had a budget of $7 million.
Funding for USAID programs spiked to $212 million after South Africa’s new democratically elected government took power.
For more information see our history page.
Based on USAID’s overall agency strategy and goals, USAID/Southern Africa and the South African Government have mutually agreed on projects in the following focus areas:
- Economic growth through improved access to credit, business development for small and medium enterprises, and workforce development;
- Creating a healthier population through health systems strengthening and service delivery in the areas of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, family planning, and maternal and child health;
- Support for women as victims of crime through capacity building of both the health and judicial systems; and
- Trilateral cooperation that allows the South African Government to increase their role as a regional development entity.
In focusing on these areas, USAID/Southern Africa seeks development that considers the appropriate roles of the public and private sectors, gender equality, a cleaner environment, and reducing income and geographic disparities.
In Fiscal Year (FY) 2009, the U.S. Government provided over $541 million dollars in foreign assistance to South Africa. Of that, almost $520 million went towards HIV/AIDS programming. South Africa is the second largest U.S. foreign assistance recipient on the continent, and one of the top ten worldwide.
Since 1994, the U.S. government has provided almost $2.3 billion dollars in assistance.
Every few years, USAID/Southern Africa develops a multi-year strategy, which identifies priorities where the country has the greatest need for USAID’s assistance. USAID develops the priorities in close connection with the South African government, other U.S. government entities working in the country, the non-governmental organization community, local civil society organizations, the private sector, and other stakeholders. The strategy reflects a careful study of South Africa’s socio-economic and political environment and the assistance provided by other donors. It is important that the work reflects the priorities of the South African people and does not duplicate what is already being provided.
Taking into consideration this multi-year strategy, the mission then develops a one-year strategic plan for operations to take place two years from the development of the strategy. This strategic plan proposes how the assistance will be used and the levels of funding needed. This plan is reviewed by USAID headquarters in Washington, D.C., and incorporated into the President’s annual foreign assistance budget submitted to the U.S. Congress. Once Congress passes the appropriations bill, USAID/Southern Africa and the appropriate South African Government officials negotiate the agreements required to release USAID funds. By obligating funds through these agreements, USAID commits to use them to pursue certain development objectives in key sectors.
Subsequently, USAID provides funding through a transparent and competitive process to organizations with the expertise to implement projects. USAID seeks the best value for money invested and gives funds to organization that have the capacity to manage and account for USAID funds in accordance with U.S. law. Periodic audits are carried out to ensure that USAID is in compliance with U.S. law.
Recognizing the key role of the private sector in advancing development, USAID promotes public-private partnerships to leverage additional resources and encourage effectiveness.
Job vacancies are advertised on this site via employment opportunities.
If you have South African citizenship and wish to apply for a Foreign Service National (FSN) job that has been advertised on our website or in the newspaper, please send your application to:
U.S. Agency for International Development
Human Resource Office
P.O. Box 43
Pretoria, South Africa
If you are a U.S. citizen and are interested in a long-term career with USAID, please contact:
Office of Human Resources Management
United States Agency for International Development
Second Floor, Ronald Regan Building
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20523
You can also find additional information on the Agency’s website: www.usaid.gov/careers.
Worldwide business opportunities (in the form of solicitations) can be found on the USAID Business Site.
USAID does business through a variety of available federal mechanisms – each with their own distinct policies, forms, procedures and associated documents. The two main categories are:
- Contracts (Acquisitions): Direct contracts are subject to the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR), the USAID Supplement to the FAR (AIDAR), and applicable portions of the ADS Series 300. Notices of contract opportunities and corresponding solicitations are publicized at FedBizOpps, the single source for federal procurement opportunities.
- Grants and Cooperative Agreements (Assistance): Federal Grants and or Cooperative Agreements are used to accomplish a public purpose of support or stimulation authorized by the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended (FAA). The Agency may publish an Annual Program Statement (APS) or a Request for Applications (RFA) in order to satisfy the requirement for public notice as well as provide a mechanism for advertising competitive assistance programs. APSs and RFAs are publicized at FedGrants, the U.S. government-wide portal for grant opportunities.
USAID/Southern Africa solicitations can also be found on our Doing Business with USAID site. This page also contains agency guidance governing USAID grants, contracts, and other implementing mechanisms used by USAID.
Instruction on how to apply for each USAID solicited program are contain in each solicitation. Each solicitation also includes a point of contact and contact information.
Local procurements can be found on the Funding Opportunities page of this website.
USAID generally undertakes direct assistance programs to benefit developing countries through competitive grants and cooperative agreements. Resources available to USAID for programs must be concentrated and focused on clear objectives which fit within program priorities. Thus, only exceptional unsolicited applications can be considered for funding on a noncompetitive basis – ones which present a unique approach, are fully supportive of USAID's development objectives, demonstrate a unique capacity by the applicant to carry out proposed activities, and where there is clear support for such activities by the recipient country government or private institutions. Further, only limited funding may be available for even the best of such applications, since most funding is reserved for development priorities already established by USAID. Accordingly, it is strongly recommended that potential applicants review USAID competitive announcements (see http://www.fbo.gov/ and http://www.grants.gov/). Applicants responding to specific announcements should follow the directions contained in that announcement. If a potential applicant still desires to submit an unsolicited application, the applicant should follow the procedures described in Guide to Submitting Unsolicited Assistance Applications and Guidelines for Submitting Unsolicited Contract Proposals. For more information, see our Unsolicited Proposals page.
A list of all USAID partners can be found on this website by linking to our partners page.
All our information is available on this website. We urge you to browse the site and print whatever you deem appropriate. If you are still in need of further information, please feel free to contact us.
Unless a copyright is indicated, information on this website is in the public domain and may be reproduced, published or otherwise used without USAID’s permission. We request that USAID be cited as the source of information and that any photo credits or bylines be similarly credited to the photographer or author or USAID, as appropriate.
If a copyright is indicated on a photo, graphic, or any other material, permission to copy these materials must be obtained from the original source.