Letter to White House on the Addis Tax Initiative

Download a formatted version of the letter here.


July 11, 2016

Mary Beth Goodman
Senior Director for Development & Democracy
National Security Council
White House
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Ms. Goodman:

On behalf of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN), a reform coalition of international development advocates and practitioners focused on strengthening U.S. development policy and results, we urge you to mark the upcoming one-year anniversary of the U.S. commitment to the Addis Tax Initiative (ATI) by establishing an official, public baseline from which to double U.S. support for domestic resource mobilization (DRM) by 2020 in alignment with MFAN’s guiding principles.

As you know, DRM assistance can be catalytic, enabling countries to generate more of their own revenue and spend it on development priorities. This is particularly important in fragile states, which are at greatest risk of being left behind in global development progress. With increased resources flowing to build DRM capacity, developing countries around the world will be better equipped to utilize their own institutions, systems, and resources to achieve local priorities.

If President Obama leaves office without having established a minimum funding baseline for U.S. agencies and the alignment of assistance with effectiveness principles, the U.S. commitment will be put at risk. A key opportunity to build on the momentum that began at the Third International Financing for Development Conference may be lost.

The Addis Tax Initiative is significant, not only for the commitments donor countries made to support DRM, but for the principles endorsed by all signatories to ensure that this support establishes a path to long-term poverty reduction and greater self-reliance. Partners to the ATI have committed to:

– Build tax systems that are fair, efficient, and transparent;

– Equitably distribute both tax burdens and benefits;

– Combat tax evasion, fight corruption, tackle illicit finance, and promote good financial governance;

– Measure progress and track country-specific indicators and targets; and

– Channel additional resources toward effective, equitably delivered public services.

President Obama’s sweeping Presidential Policy Directive on Global Development (PPD #6) committed the U.S. to “underscore the importance of country ownership and responsibility” and “pursue development through partnership.” Upholding his commitment to partner with developing countries to mobilize and manage their own resources is vital to securing country-owned development as a cornerstone of President Obama’s international legacy.

We look forward to continuing to work with you to meet this important commitment.


George Ingram
MFAN Co-Chair
Brookings Institution

Carolyn Miles
MFAN Co-Chair
Save the Children

Connie Veillette
MFAN Co-Chair
The Lugar Center

CC: Jonathan Lachman, Associate Director for National Security Programs, White House Office of Management and Budget

Alexia Latortue, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Development Policy and Debt, U.S. Treasury

Larry McDonald, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Technical Assistance and Afghanistan, U.S. Treasury

The Honorable Eric Postel, Associate Administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development

Beth Tritter, Vice President, Department of Policy and Evaluation, Millennium Challenge Corporation

Daniella Ballou-Aares, Senior Advisor for Development to the U.S. Secretary of State

Hari Sastry, Director, Office of U.S. Foreign Assistance Resources, U.S. Department of State

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