In his remarks, Froman focused on economic growth, trade and investment (one of four pillars in the administration’s new strategy towards Africa and the result of a presidential policy directive that presumably replaces National Security Presidential Directive 50 signed in 2006 by President Bush). Froman spoke of the difference in the US government’s approach to the region from when he traveled to Africa as a Treasury official nearly fifteen years ago. “If there is one way to summarize the change, it is that the focus has shifted from how much aid will be provided to how best to create the enabling environment for the trade and investment necessary to drive broad-based economic growth—the only true path toward development,” he argued.
The same day the PPD was released, the President, during his speech to the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Summit, hammered home the importance of emphasizing economic growth, calling it “the most powerful force the world has ever known for eradicating poverty and creating opportunity….” As USAID’s response to MFAN displays, it appears that the process of converting the President’s priority into the USAID business model remains a work in progress. Four “Partnership for Growth” countries have been designated; a new economic growth strategy paper has been promised; and the USAID Policy Framework mentions economic growth as the fourth of its seven “Core Development Objectives.” Given PPD-6’s powerful endorsement of economic growth, these steps seem modest at best.
USAID Administrator Raj Shah answered questions from young Americans at the White House on Thursday afternoon. In a discussion moderated by Kalpen Modi, Associate Director of the Office of Public Engagement, Administrator Shah highlighted a number of USAID’s priorities. He spoke about accountability under USAID Forward, Feed the Future as a driver of self-sufficiency, and … Continue reading Raj Shah Hosts Session on Youth and International Development at the White House
But of course the question isn’t just about how much we’re spending. The most important question is about how and where we’re investing that money. And here—on the test of brains—Obama’s budget holds much more promise.
Below are excerpts from MFAN Partners’ statements in reaction to President Obama’s FY2012 budget request released yesterday and the ongoing debates over the Continuing Resolution for FY 2011 in the House. You can read MFAN’s statement on the budget here. To learn more about the budget debates, click on the following links: U.S. Global Leadership Coalition’s Budget Center; InterAction; and ONE’s blog.
“If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.”
In a new piece in The Washington Times, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman (D-CA) calls for Congress and the Administration to complete and institutionalize their work to make foreign aid programs “more effective, more efficient and more accountable.”
In a new report called “U.S. Foreign Aid Reform Meets the New Congress,” MFAN Principal and Executive Director of the Sustainable Security and Peacebuilding Initiative at the Center for American Progress John Norris explores how foreign assistance reform can succeed in the new-look 112th Congress.
“The congressional drive to pass a wholesale reform of foreign-aid distribution has also been dealt a blow due to the GOP takeover of the House. The most comprehensive bill on this front was written by outgoing House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman (D-Calif.) — but his bill failed to move out of committee, and it’s unlikely that his successor, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), will take up the cause. Expect congressional Republicans to also resist large increases in the budget for the State Department, which is taking on increased roles all over the world, including in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Sudan. The State Department’s budget for fiscal 2011 is still under consideration.”
“Of course, aid is about more than money; how rich countries design their aid programs is as important as how much they give. In this sense, the pressure on the budget could help drive aid reforms and force the administration and Congress to make tough choices about where and how we spend our aid dollars and push for stronger evidence on what works in development. The push to be more selective with our development assistance, focus on economic growth, and do a better job of measuring impact and results (and share it publicly) is already lined up in the presidential policy directive on U.S. global development policy and seems like a reform mantle that both parties could get behind.”