MFAN Welcomes Strong Reform Elements of the Bipartisan Economic Growth and Development Act

May 30, 2017 (WASHINGTON)This statement is delivered on behalf of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) by Co-Chairs George Ingram and Connie Veillette

MFAN welcomes the aid effectiveness principles embedded in the Economic Growth and Development Act (H.R. 2747 & S. 1274), which was introduced last week in the House by Representatives Ted Yoho (R-FL) and Adam Smith (D-WA) and in the Senate by Senators Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Chris Coons (D-DE).  All four sponsors are co-chairs of the newly expanded Congressional Caucus for Effective Foreign Assistance (CCEFA) and leading voices on aid reform.  Senator David Perdue (R-GA) and Reps. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL), Rep. Rooney Thomas (R-FL), Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), and Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) have also signed on as original co-sponsors.

This bipartisan, bicameral legislation aligns with MFAN’s Guiding Principles for Effective Foreign Assistance and recognizes the immense potential that exists in leveraging of the private sector to achieve inclusive economic growth in developing countries.  The bill calls for the establishment of an interagency mechanism to better coordinate private sector investment with U.S. development programs.

MFAN appreciates the language in the Act recognizing the importance of country ownership. The bill states that results are most likely to be sustained over time when development programs align with partner country priorities and complement partner country investments “through a transparent and accountable system of domestic resource mobilization.”  This approach can help put countries on the path toward eventual transition from assistance to other forms of partnership with the United States.

This legislation would also advance aid effectiveness principles of coordination, transparency, and evaluation.  It states that U.S. assistance should be “guided by a unified strategy, ambitious targets, and robust monitoring and evaluation to ensure that it is efficient, effective, and results-oriented.”  Lastly, it draws on the model of the Millennium Challenge Corporation by calling for the completion of constraints to growth and investment analyses that would then guide any country or regional development strategies.

Finally, the Senate version of the bill would codify the policy capacity, strategic planning functions, and accountability mechanisms of USAID through establishing the Policy, Planning, and Learning Bureau (PPL) into law.  Maintaining an empowered and independent development agency is critical to getting the most impact and return on investment with U.S. assistance.

MFAN thanks the CCEFA Co-Chairs for their leadership, and looks forward to continuing to work with Congressional champions dedicated to strengthening the effectiveness of U.S. foreign assistance.

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