Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) delivered an engaging and broad-ranging speech on U.S. policy in Africa yesterday at John’s Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies. Senator Isakson is the Senior Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs, and he has traveled to the continent many times over the last several years. Senator Isakson focused his remarks on three primary areas: 1. U.S. foreign assistance to Africa; 2. U.S. private investment in Africa; and 3. China’s presence in Africa.
With all the talk about whether foreign assistance is achieving its intended results, recent success stories demonstrate that economic development remains the strongest foundation for advances in all other sectors, such as health, governance, education and the empowerment of minorities and women. These successful projects show how U.S. development firms lead by example, teaching entrepreneurship and efficiency and creating thriving local businesses.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the World Bank hosted an event, Building Capacity for Trade in Developing Countries: Fostering Public and Private Cooperation in Aid for Trade. As Tom Donohue, President of the Chamber said when he opened the afternoon’s event, “There have never been so many opportunities for business and government to break down barriers to trade as now.” Click here to read more.
Click here to read the second installment of MFAN’s blog series highlighting the reform aspects of Feed the Future, the United States Government’s global hunger and food security initiative. Feed the Future incorporates many key reform principles such as components of country ownership, strong monitoring and evaluation, and leveraging partnerships for enhanced results. In this week’s post, Rick Leach, President and CEO of World Food Program USA focuses on both the short and long-term goals for food security as well as the importance of a comprehensive approach.
As we approach the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day next week, Heather Coleman of Oxfam America writes about how she is inspired and humbled by the actions women and men are taking across the country to raise awareness about climate change, hunger, and other injustices facing women in poor countries.
Tuesday, March 8 marks the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, but MFAN Partner Women Thrive Worldwide is drawing attention to the importance of women’s empowerment a few days early. Tomorrow morning they will have their 3rd annual International Women’s Day breakfast as the community takes stock of the progress made in agricultural development and food security and explores important questions for charting a path forward for gender equality.
Congress allowed a longstanding trade access program to lapse in December, 2010. That program, the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), allowed over 100 poor developing countries around the world to export their goods to the United States. The program has been in place since 1974, and has succeeded in enabling low-income countries to expand their economies and create jobs for their citizens, thereby becoming less aid-dependent. The program is consistent with a long-term vision of sustainable economic development.
“This month marks the beginning of what is sure to be a difficult and contentious year-long, and perhaps years-long, debate over U.S. spending. Foreign aid should and will be part of that discussion and cuts are certain, whether they come from the Administration or Congress. But my hope is that they will be “smart” cuts that will not minimize the goal of advancing American interests, scale back aid programs that have proven to be effective, or stifle promising new initiatives that will bring greater efficiency, accountability, and impact to that less-than-1% of the budget that is foreign aid.”
Our message to the members of Congress was simple. Even in tough economic times, a strong and effective International Affairs Budget is worth every dime. Investing in democracy, development, and diplomacy serves our economic interests here at home as well and our national security. As I accompanied Truman National Security Project veteran Lt. General Norm Seip (US Air Force, Retired) and his group to meetings with several new US Senators, the national security and economic arguments for continuing our development work abroad had the most resounding impact. One thing is clear: development is not charity — it is part and parcel of our national security and it has very real impacts on the global economy.
In a recent post on the Wilson Center’s “The New Security Beat” blog, senior scholar John Sewell offers his perspective on the State Department’s Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), which was released in December.