The Sahel Development Program

Progress and Constraints Gao ID: ID-78-18 March 29, 1978

Because of suffering in the Sahel brought about by the drought and famine of 1968 to 1973, the Agency for International Development (AID) was authorized to participate in a long-term development program supported by several countries and international organizations in consultation and planning with the Sahelian countries. The Club du Sahel, consisting of the Sahelian countries, the donor community, and the major international development institutions, was formed to undertake an overall development strategy and plan for the region.

The Club established a consensus about overall development and strategy, but its principal goal of developing a mutually agreed upon plan of action has not been met. The Sahel development program (SDP) is a useful first step, but issues such as export potential, pricing policy, and land-use management have not been adequately considered. There is a need to define interrelationships among the organizations involved and procedures for coordinating activities. There is concern about the ability of Sahelian countries to effectively use the available economic assistance, and AID should insure that development funding will not be dissipated while these problems are being resolved. Current and proposed AID projects are generally consistent with Club strategy, but it is too early to tell whether they will be integrated into the overall program. Much study and research has been done on development problems of the region but they have not always been productive because they were not project oriented.


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