USAID Needs Better Monitoring and Focus To Promote and Sustain Economic Integration Under Its APEC Contract

Audit Report
Report Number
5-486-17-001-P

In September 2013, with the Department of State’s Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, USAID launched the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Technical Assistance To Advance Regional Integration Project (ATAARI), designed to eliminate impediments that slow regional economic integration. USAID’s Regional Development Mission for Asia (USAID/RDMA) awarded a $27 million, 5-year contract to Nathan Associates Inc. to implement ATAARI.

In examining whether the project achieved its planned results to support regional economic integration within APEC and increase APEC’s institutional capacity, OIG found inadequate contract monitoring and an inability to focus on the project’s, rather than various U.S. Government agencies’ goals. Unreliable performance data limited the mission’s ability to determine if the project was on track. In examining the planning and management of the project’s financial aspects, OIG found that RDMA lacked an interagency agreement with the Department of State and approved a contract without clear guidance on how funds should be used.

Recommendations

Recommendation 1

USAID/RDMA conduct a comprehensive data quality assessment of project data to verify that they meet data quality standards.

Questioned Cost:
$0
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Recommendation 2

USAID/RDMA, after the data quality assessment, review and revise the project's monitoring and evaluation plan with the contractor, and implement controls to enforce the plan's use.

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$0
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Recommendation 3

USAID/RDMA implement procedures for the contracting officer's representative to follow to confirm, prior to approval, that activity proposals from other U.S. Government agencies clearly relate to project goals.

Questioned Cost:
$0
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Recommendation 4

USAID/RDMA assess the focus of all project activities in the current work plan, and direct the contractor to revise the plan as necessary so that activities advance project goals.

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$0
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Recommendation 5

USAID/RDMA require the contractor to implement an overall project work plan that includes activities focused on achieving the project goals.

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$0
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Recommendation 6

USAID/RDMA require the contractor to conduct an assessment of the capacity of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Secretariat, use the results and input from the Secretariat to formulate capacity-building activities that can be completed in the time remaining, and modify the contract as necessary.

Questioned Cost:
$0
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Recommendation 7

USAID/RDMA require the contractor to revise the project's monitoring and evaluation plan to include indicators for the additional capacity-building activities for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Secretariat.

Questioned Cost:
$0
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Recommendation 8

USAID/RDMA review the contract language and revise as appropriate to clarify whether technical reports should be funded entirely by the project.

Questioned Cost:
$0
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