Summary of publication
This report summarises the performance of Australia's aid program in Sub-Saharan Africa from July 2018 to June 2019 against the Sub-Saharan Africa Aid Investment Plan (AIP) 2015-2019.1
Sub-Saharan Africa is a highly diverse region consisting of 49 countries and a total population in 2018 of 1.078 billion2. The region continues to face multiple development challenges and major differences exist between individual countries. Aggregate economic growth is expected to increase slightly from 3 per cent in 2018 to 3.5 per cent in 2019, and stabilise at about 5 per cent in the medium term. For the region's more diversified economies, prospects for sustained economic growth are strong; but in the remaining more resource-dependent economies, growth looks weaker and standards of living in these 24 countries are expected to improve much more slowly. These prospects are due to both external and domestic factors, including slower global growth, volatility in global financial conditions and continuing low commodity prices. While the region has witnessed a reduction in conflicts in recent years, some countries continue to be affected, posing significant strains on their economies, major declines in their per capita GDP and loss of human and physical capital.
In this context, Australia's aid program to Sub-Saharan Africa continues to make a small but valuable contribution3 by building human capital and addressing skills shortages, improving agricultural productivity and food security and providing humanitarian assistance to people affected by conflicts and crises. The program also promotes gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls across all its investments. As such, it continues to align closely with the four strategic objectives of the Sub-Saharan Africa AIP 2015-19.
In 2018-19 the program continued to achieve good results against the performance benchmarks identified in the AIP:
Australia Awards – In 2018-19, the Australia Awards program in Sub-Saharan Africa awarded a total of 479 scholarships for postgraduate (masters), short courses and Australia Awards Fellowships across priority sectors to African women and men from 21 countries.
Agriculture – Australian support to programs that focus on agricultural productivity and food security contributed to improving the lives of an estimated 1.9 million poor smallholder farmers.
Humanitarian assistance – Australia continued to provide funding to international and Australian organisations working with vulnerable populations in Somalia and South Sudan, benefitting an estimated 634,478 vulnerable women and men affected by conflict and crisis situations.
Empowering women and girls – All posts have up-to-date Gender Action Plans in place and actively promote and support gender equality in their Australia Awards-Africa programs, through the Direct Aid Program (DAP) and public diplomacy activities.
Assistance to humanitarian programs targets vulnerable women and girls, and some agriculture programs are aimed specifically at women's economic empowerment. Across all Australia Awards programs, an average of 47 per cent of scholarships were awarded to women in 2018, close to the 50 per cent target.
Australian Government funding to accredited non-government organisations (NGOs) through the Australia-NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP) continued to make a substantial contribution to development in Sub-Saharan Africa. An estimated 12.8 million people benefitted from the work of 28 Australian NGOs in 2018-19. The ANCP provided approximately $20 million to support these NGOs working in countries across Africa, delivering over 75 projects in health, education, rural development and agriculture, water supply, peace-building, disability support and advocacy, gender equality and mineral/mining policy and administration.
Australian Volunteers played a small but valuable role in supporting Australia's objectives in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2018-19, with a total of 98 volunteer placements in South Africa, Tanzania, Eswatini (Swaziland) and Lesotho. Volunteers were placed in priority sectors including agricultural productivity, extractives governance, private sector development and women's economic empowerment.