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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.
Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA), the new chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has vowed a major overhaul of U.S. foreign assistance. He joins a growing list of members of Congress and the defense, diplomacy and development community who recognize that U.S. foreign assistance programs are badly in need of modernization to meet the challenges of the 21st century. In this new essay, adapted from a forthcoming CGD book The White House and the World: A Global Development Agenda for the Next U.S. President, CGD senior fellow Steve Radelet offers a blueprint to align U.S. foreign assistance with American values and foreign policy goals: develop a National Foreign Assistance Strategy; create a new cabinet-level department for development policy; rewrite the 1961 Foreign Assistance Act; place a higher priority on multilateral assistance channels; and increase the quantity and improve the allocation of funding.
This course examines economic growth and other development indicators around the world since 1965, with some reference to broad patterns since 1820, while also exploring the relationship between growth, poverty, and equity. Other topics will include the developing-country debt crisis and the financial crises that affected several emerging markets in the late 1990s.
Total U.S. development assistance has fallen 22 percent since 2005 from $27.9 billion to $21.8 billion in 2007. In real terms, this was the smallest amount since 2002, excluding assistance to Iraq, Afghanistan, and HIV/AIDS programs. Senior fellow Steve Radelet and his coauthors examine the decline, and ask whether President Bush's pledge to double assistance to Africa is likely to be realized or not.
The launch of the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) holds the promise of being a watershed event in the history of U.S. foreign assistance. This paper discusses how should aid be delivered, once eligibility is determined, to ensure it is as effective as possible in supporting growth and development in recipient countries.
CGD senior fellow Steven Radelet discusses how the IMF can be helpful to low-income countries that have maintained macroeconomic stability for several years and no longer require IMF financing. He suggests that the Fund move toward greater use of non-funded programs and play a less dominant role in overall conditionality, while continuing to work with countries to ensure an appropriate macroeconomic framework. He argues, however, that the Fund should not provide grants to these countries.
In a related paper (A Stability and Growth Facility -Working Paper 77), Nancy Birdsall and Kemal Dervis propose an IMF Stability and Growth Facility to help high-debt, mostly middle-income countries maintain credibility in the markets through fiscal discipline, in part to reduce their debt burden, while also addressing longstanding social needs.
On December 12, the Millennium Challenge Corp. (MCC) Board will choose which countries are eligible for FY2008 funding in what may be the toughest selection round to date. With funding tight, new countries passing the performance test, half of the countries with signed compacts failing, and an MCC decision to shift its focus to implementation, this round should test the MCC's adherence to its principles and perhaps set new standards. As it does each year, the MCA Monitor team takes a hard look at tough choices and predicts which countries the MCC Board is likely to choose.
Edward W. Scott Jr., the founding chairman of the Board of the Center for Global Development, recently visited Liberia together with members of his family and a group that included CGD board member Belinda Stronach. It was Scott’s first visit but far from his first involvement with Liberia. In 2006, after listening to Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf outline the challenges she was facing in rebuilding the country following 14 years of civil war, Ed offered to provide her with some special assistance aiming to finance a need she would identify that most conventional donors would not support. After consulting with CGD senior fellow Steve Radelet -- who has been assisting President Sirleaf as an economic advisor since her election in late 2005 -- on options to be considered for this special assistance, he decided to sponsor a select group of highly trained young professionals to serve in Liberia for one year as special assistants to members of Liberia's Cabinet. The program is called the Scott Family Liberia Fellows program. Its first group included three Liberian expatriates and three young professionals of other nationalities. This first group of fellows began working in Monrovia in June 2007. The program is now in its second year and has grown to 16 Fellows with four additional sponsors (the Open Society Institute, the McCall MacBain Foundation, Humanity United, and the Nike Foundation).