22
such as in Kenya and Nigeria.
With continued high investments in
civil society programming, for the period 1997 1999, USAID
expects further improvements in civil society's institutional
capacity and its ability to advocate for citizen interests at the
local and national levels.
Future programming will complement existing civil society
activities by focusing on related areas such as improved
governance, political and economic decentralization, and
strengthening the capacity of government institutions to respond
to the overtures of civil society actors.
Rule of law activities
will strengthen the link between democratic governance and
economic growth by promoting legal reforms that encourage foreign
and private investment and trade.
By focusing on cross sectoral
synergies in the health, education, and environment sectors, the
impact of USAID's democracy and governance activities will be
maximized.
Finally, USAID's involvement in multilateral
activities, such as the Denver Summit Group of Eight Africa
Initiative, will reinforce our programmatic goals through greater
donor coordination on democratic governance issues.
Of the 27 African nations in which USAID implements programs,
there has been a decrease in the number of "not free" status
countries from 15 (55%) in 1993 to 11 (40%) in 1996.
The number
of countries classified as "free" increased from 4 (15%) in 1993
to 5 (19%) in 1996 with Malawi joining the ranks.
South Africa
transitioned from "partly free" to "free" status.
Angola,
Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Somalia maintained
the classification "not free."
By the end of FY 1999, we expect
a decrease in the number of countries classified as "not free."
The Near East, South and East Asia:
As measured by Freedom
House's 1996 survey, overall freedom in the region has declined.
Nevertheless, in some countries national level impacts are
beginning to appear on some of the characteristics Freedom House
looks at in its ratings.
Among the highest performing democracy
programs in the ANE region, based on USAID's performance
monitoring reports, are those in the Philippines and Mongolia.
Both programs, one mature and one new, are devoted to increasing
the participation of key civil society groups.
USAID's civil
society activities in the region support the participation of
NGOs in the areas of human rights, civic education, gender, and
community self help.
NGO activities that affect political change
and public policy are key to expanding political space and
improving basic human rights.
This is especially important in
authoritarian states where it is often difficult to work with
governmental institutions.
In addition, USAID's governance
activities, including work with legislatures and line ministries,
often focus on making government more transparent to the general
public, and officials more accountable for the work they carry
out.
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