My latest from WND -- S.P.
My latest from WND -- S.P.
While the flow of billions of America taxpayer dollars to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan has slowed during President Obama’s second term, his administration nonetheless will put $140 million into a project to figure out how to help “increase stability, democracy, and prosperity for the men and women” of that nation.
Private contractors will reap the windfall of an aid-effectiveness assessment known as the Performance Management Support, or PERFORM, initiative, which simultaneously seeks to determine whether Obama has accomplished anything thus far in Pakistan.
The U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, is tasked with conducting the PERFORM endeavor, for which contractors will provide “performance-monitoring support” of existing assistance programs.
The step comports with existing USAID policy stemming from requirements in the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009 that the agency determine if government clients are effectively and efficiently carrying out their contractual obligations.
USAID/Pakistan currently maintains in-house staff to monitor the program effectiveness, particularly in high-threat and security restricted areas such as Karachi, Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
According to the project Statement of Work, for the agency employees to satisfy their contractor-oversight responsibilities, additional contractors are needed to obtain “performance monitoring data.” The aim of the five-year, $140 million PERFORM initiative, therefore, is to obtain that data.
USAID then will use the information to identify existing program problems and to devise project improvements and adaptations. It also will leverage the data “to inform new project designs.”
The agency separately is evaluating the effectiveness of “highly specialized management information system and geospatial information system,” or MIS/GIS, services that a contractor is providing to USAID/Pakistan.
The MIS/GIS initiative will help the agency to track more closely 90 active contracts – valued at more than $1.9 billion – that USAID/Pakistan currently manages.
Management Services International received a six-month, non-competitive contract extension to perform the work, raising the contract ceiling from $11.7 million to $23.7 million.
The administration’s FY 2015 budget request for Pakistan aid is $881.8 million – significantly less than the nearly $2.4 billion sought and congressionally appropriated in FY 2011.
Peace and Security operations comprise $399.2 million of the FY 2015 total, with the remainder slated for Economic Development ($276 million); Health ($80 million); Democracy, Human Rights and Government ($76.6 million); and Education and Social Services ($50 million).
Included in the category of Peace and Security operations is State Department training through its Anti-Terrorism Assistance Program, or ATA. As U.S. Trade & Aid Monitor's Steve Peacock recently discovered, the State Department purchased hundreds of pounds of plastic explosives and thousands of containers of liquid explosives, which it claimed it would use in the training of ATA partner nations such as Pakistan.
It is unclear, however, which assistance category applies to the administration’s production of a Pakistani-themed video depicting national icon Uncle Sam as a bloodthirsty cannibal.
Similarly, an Obama plan to change Pakistan’s culturally embedded mistreatment of women and girls might fall under several budget categories.
Other recently launched USAID/Pakistan endeavors include the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governance Project, a four-year $24 million program that seeks to improve the ability of that provincial government to provide public services to its citizens.
The Commercial Agriculture Project, which likewise is a four-year $24 million program, will help “improve the ability of Pakistan’s agriculture and livestock sectors to meet both international and domestic demand.”
USAID/Pakistan also recently revealed that it will spend about $17 million to perform an “environmental and social impact assessment” of the proposed Diamer Bhasha Dam Project.
The official justification for U.S. assistance to Pakistan focuses on the pursuit of “robust continued security and civilian assistance that contributes to a more secure, stable, tolerant, democratic, and prosperous Pakistan.”
The broader aim is to “make the region safer and also contribute to U.S. security.”
This article originally was published June 8 via WND.com. Under agreement with WND, rights have reverted back to its author, Steve Peacock.
In the latest addition to the Obama administration’s growing aid-to-Kenya portfolio, the U.S. will help subsidize a nationwide citizen-health assessment in every Kenyan county without exception.
While the estimated project cost remains undisclosed, a separate Kenya-based trade-promotion project unveiled late last week came with an additional $70 million price tag.
The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, with U.S. taxpayer help, will implement the 2014 Kenya Demographic and Health Survey, or KDHS.
Kenya will coordinate the efforts with United Nations agencies, the U.S. government and “other partners.” The U.S. will fund a KDHS requirement to deploy contractor caravans across the entirety of this East African nation of 45 million.
Read more at WND.com...
What a thrill it was to read yesterday's editorial by Joseph Farah, founder, editor and CEO of WND, on his publication's extensive coverage of Obama admininistration assistance to Kenya -- Barack Obama's "home country," as the First Lady once referred to the African nation.
I have been blessed with the chance to write the bulk of those articles via WND.com.
Mr. Farah clearly has recognized the value of this unparalleled coverage of "rapidly and exponentially" increasing USAID programs in Kenya.
Indeed, it was precisely U.S. Trade & Aid Monitor's coverage of other U.S. government foreign-assistance initiatives that caught the attention of Mr. Farah when I first launched the Monitor in 2011, consequently leading to an ongoing publishing relationship with the WND organization.
It is with much gratitude to Mr. Farah -- as well as to News Editor Bob Unruh -- for the chance to regularly contribute to WND, which has the guts to take on issues the mainstream media often does not have the wherewithal or the chutzpah to pursue.
My latest from WND.com.. -- S.P.
The Obama administration is infusing millions of additional dollars into the stabilization and strengthening of county governments across Kenya to protect taxpayers there by having Americans foot the bill.
Without opening the endeavor to competitive bidding, the U.S. Agency for International Development simply changed the terms of an existing Kenya aid program and put more money into it.
Kenyans had been facing additional financial costs for their own local governments before the agency extended the contract by assigning new responsibilities to Development Alternatives Inc., or DAI. But the change by USAID means that Americans, not Kenyans, will be on the hook for an additional $4.5 million for the Financial Inclusion for Rural Microenterprises, or FIRM, project
“These costs include approximately $3 million in technical assistance that FIRM would provide which the individual counties would be forced to incur without the extension,” the agency said in a Justification and Approval for Limiting Sources document that WND obtained through routine database research.
Continued at WND.com...
The federal government’s portfolio of international health-care initiatives has grown so enormous that the Obama administration is infusing another quarter-billion dollars simply to help operate this global bureaucracy.
The estimated return on this taxpayer-funded venture: 250 new support staff.
My latest from WND. - Steve Peacock
Now that an $87 million African trade-promotion project is reaching the end of its five-year run, the Obama administration might spend millions more to decide whether it wisely invested U.S. taxpayer dollars in the venture.
If the Competitiveness and Trade Expansion, or COMPETE Trade Hub project, is deemed to have been effective, a follow-up program could receive more cash from the Treasury.
In this latest facet of a five-year U.S. Agency for International Development experiment in and around Kenya, the federal government will obtain contractor-conducted project evaluation services before committing additional funding.
USAID/East Africa wants to see if it had actually reduced barriers to “regional and international trade,” according to planning documents that WND discovered via routine database.
Continued at WND.com...
A $20 million Kenya-based anti-drought program continues its search for contractors to carry out the five-year endeavor for the U.S. government -- and half the estimated cost will be eaten up in Phase One, which establishes a management bureaucracy to oversee the project.
The U.S. Agency for International Development extended its vendor-bid deadline until Jan. 20, 2014, in the Resilience Learning Project, whose goal is to increase collaboration and "drought resilience" information-sharing among stakeholders in the Horn of Africa drylands.
The program is part of a larger Obama administration "resilience agenda" whose aim is to strengthen governmental and private responses to drought -- and the conditions that bring about drought -- in Africa, according to the initial Statement of Work.
Related programs include Resilience and Economic Growth in the Arid Lands-Accelerated Growth, or REGAL-AG, which seeks to improve the business climate for Kenyan livestock farmers.
As U.S. Trade & Aid Monitor previously reported, REGAL-AG was one of numerous Kenya-specific aid initiatives that emerged amidst a sudden spike in U.S.-funded Kenyan projects.
Soon after it was discovered that the Kenyan program -- in the admininstration's own words -- had "increased rapidly and exponentially, outstripping workforce resources available to effectively perform assessments and rigorous analyses … track results … manage recordkeeping, and other project development and program office functions.”
USAID subsequently sought to hire additional contractors to assist existing contractor already involved in such U.S.-Kenya initiatives.
My latest contribution to WND -- S.P.
The Obama administration is launching a program with the ambitious goals of sparking business investment, reducing investment risks, and creating and sustaining new jobs.
However, the beneficiaries are Middle Eastern and North African nations, not workers in the United States, WND has discovered.
The MENA Investment Initiative, or MENAII, “will provide needed support to early stage businesses in order to create and sustain jobs,” according to a Request for Information, or RFI, that WND discovered via routine database research.
Though the federal government is struggling to make Obamacare functional for Americans, the administration is simultaneously helping to upgrade the health-care system in Kenya.
The ambitious plan to expand health-care and social-services access to millions of Kenyans is one of several recent U.S. endeavors to surface, indicating that yet another spike in assistance to Kenya is taking place.
As U.S. Trade & Aid Monitor reported, the U.S. Agency for International Development in June 2012 alerted contractors that its Kenyan aid portfolio was growing “exponentially.”
Now, the most recent endeavor is the enhancement of an existing “five-year mission supporting the centralized health-care system in Kenya.”
In addition to heaping the cost of the programs on U.S. taxpayers, part of the plan strips responsibilities from a U.S. contractor and transfers it to a Kenyan company, according to planning documents the Monitor discovered via routine database research.
Although the Kenya Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare, or AMPATH, consortium is largely funded by international donors, the U.S. will pay for segments of its modernization. Its goal is to “expand and improve AMPATH integrated health system.”
The AMPATHplus initiative on a technical level will consolidate the organization’s various software systems into a single business management system; however, USAID also will transfer financial and administrative control of AMPATHplus “from the current American contractor to a Kenyan contractor” as it deploys this enterprise resource planning, or ERP, software system.
Kenya’s Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, Moi University and partner Indiana University will retain operational control of the AMPATHplus project. But now it will do so through a management board representing those entities, the document says.
Among other targeted results, USAID is seeking contractor assistance to:
USAID separately launched the Kenya-based U.S. Trade and Investment Center, or TIC, a potentially $70 million initiative aiming to boost the economies of East African nations.
The agency acknowledged that the East African Community – Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda – has “one of the fastest growing economic communities in the world, growing faster than all other economic communities in the last decade.”
USAID nonetheless deems it necessary to intervene, as “the volume and variety of intra-regionally traded goods remains markedly less than those of other trading blocs” such as Europe and Asia, the TIC Statement of Work laments.
Additional obstacles to increased intra-regional trade include substandard “operational efficiency and infrastructure” of major ports in Mombasa, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Regional efforts to improve the shortcomings are underway, but USAID believes “progress has been slow.”
East African railways, likewise, are “highly inefficient and not yet competitively cost-effective with roads,” so U.S. taxpayers must help correct such impediments, according to the agency.
USAID in another Kenya-specific initiative will pour upwards of $55 million into a reading program over the next four years.
The agency last week alerted contractors about the Tusome Early Grade Reading Program, “a basic education initiative to improve the reading skills of the approximately 5.4 million individual Kenyan children who will begin primary school during the 2014-2017 school.”
Tusome, which means “Let’s Read” in Kiswahili, initially will be carried out by a contractor, but the program will “consider a transition to government ownership” in later years, according to a recently released bid request.
The Monitor recently reported that the U.S. Trade & Development Agency, an independent White House unit, awarded a $300,000 grant to help Kenyan and other East African power companies more effectively tap into the U.S. Treasury.
The USTDA grant purportedly will complement Obama’s Power Africa initiative – a multi-billion-dollar effort that is moving forward despite concerns that a new public-private bureaucracy is needed simply to overcome the pervasive corruption and incompetence of African governments and power utilities.
This article originally was published by WND (Nov. 8, 2013). Under agreement with the publisher, rights have reverted back to the author, Steve Peacock.