Staff cuts to USAID are harming oversight in Iraq, report finds
Iraq is one of the biggest recipients of assistance from the US, with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) managing US$1.2 billion in development, humanitarian assistance, and stabilization efforts. An inspector general (IG) report, jointly written by IGs from USAID, the State Department and the Department of Defense, has raised serious concerns that deep staff cuts are creating difficulties for properly overseeing the programs there.
The IG report found that the large portfolio when combined with non-Iraqi staff reductions “create uncertainty as to how programs will be overseen remotely ... Uncertainty around staffing levels also raises questions about USAID’s continuing ability to effectively oversee its high-priority, high-risk portfolio.”
Despite having large, ambitious and complex development assistance projects in Iraq, USAID has cut nearly 80% of its non-Iraqi staff over the last year. According to the IG report, USAID officials reported the cuts “have had significant adverse effects” on the oversight and management of grants.