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Before his tenure at CGD, Steve was deputy assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury for Africa, the Middle East, and Asia from 2000 to 2002. He left CGD to become chief economist for the U.S. Agency for International Development.
This book tackles head on the tension between foreign policy and development goals that chronically afflicts U.S. foreign assistance; the danger of being dismissed as one more instance of the United States going it alone instead of buttressing international cooperation; and the risk of exacerbating confusion among the myriad overlapping U.S. policies, agencies, and programs targeted at developing nations, particularly USAID.
With President Bush's trip to Africa making headlines this week, CGD senior fellow Steve Radelet and research assistant Sami Bazzi offer a close look at the latest U.S. foreign assistance numbers. Bottom line: although America's aid has more than doubled since 2000, the new money went mostly to Iraq, Afghanistan and a small number of debt relief operations; and almost all was allocated through bilateral rather than multilateral channels. Assistance to Africa more than quadrupled from $1.5 billion in 1996 to $6.6 billion in 2006 and has been enormously important in funding humanitarian relief and HIV/AIDS programs. But even with the increases, U.S. assistance to Africa still averages less than $9 per African per year. And U.S. assistance for Africa has become less selective: since 2000 the shares going to the poorest countries and to the best-governed countries have fallen.
The Millennium Challenge Corp. (MCC) has received wide praise for its innovative approaches to aid allocation and delivery but has not yet reached its full potential. Now, with the transition to a new administration, the MCC must take bold steps to achieve greater effectiveness, clarity of purpose, and integration with the broader U.S. foreign assistance framework. CGD analysts Sheila Herrling, Steve Radelet, and Molly Kinder offer timely suggestions, including introducing smaller, multiple compacts, reorienting the Threshold Program, and focusing exclusively on low-income countries.
Braving freezing temperatures and gusty winds, hundreds of development experts and members of the policy community packed a Washington hotel ballroom for a discussion with David Gergen on the outlook for global development policy under new U.S. president Barack Obama. Gergen, an advisor to four presidents and senior political analyst for CNN, sees both opportunities and risks in the years ahead.
Congressman Howard Berman (D-CA), Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE), and Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) spoke at the launch Tuesday on Capitol Hill of a new proposal calling for what amounts to a complete makeover of U.S. foreign assistance. New Day, New Way: U.S. Foreign Assistance for the 21st Century, calls on the next American president, Congress, policymakers and the American people to overhaul how the U.S. helps poor people in developing countries. Among the recommended steps: a new national foreign assistance strategy and a new Foreign Assistance Act to replace the outdated framework that President Kennedy signed nearly 50 years ago. CGD senior fellow Steve Radelet is a co-chair of the authoring group, the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network.