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CGD Policy Blogs


MCC Board Update: When Bad Governance Happens to Good Compacts

The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) board of directors suspended Malawi’s $350 million compact and approved a $355 million compact with Zambia at its quarterly meeting last Thursday.  It also halted compact operations in Mali following news of a military takeover.  And there is still no news on the two vacant board seats.

Malawi and Zambia: Parallel Paths, Opposite Outcomes

Ryan Budget Elevates Defense over Diplomacy and Development

On Wednesday, the House Budget Committee approved Chairman Ryan’s budget for fiscal year 2013.  It includes sizeable decreases for the international affairs budget, but not for defense.  It also reduces funding for the Overseas Contingency Operations account that is designed for both civilian and military costs associated with activities in the front-line states of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq. The full table of cuts, by budget function, can be found here.

Strategy Tracker Update: USAID Publishes Two New Policies

USAID is moving full steam ahead in its efforts to hammer out Agency-wide policy guidelines with two new reports: a Counter-Trafficking in Persons policy and a Gender Equality and Female Empowerment policy. As part of our USAID Monitor Strategy Tracker, I’ve dissected the documents to determine whether the Agency’s Bureau of Policy Planning and Learning (PPL) is living up to its promise to rewire the USAID policymaking process.

Getting It Right: USAID and the President’s Malaria Initiative

This is a joint post with Victoria Fan.

While PEPFAR and the Global Health Initiative (GHI) have dominated the global health community’s attention over the past few years, the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) has largely flown under the radar. Surprisingly little had been written about the PMI; still the few available materials painted a reasonably positive picture. But just this month, the PMI released the results of an external evaluation which confirms what we’ve long suspected: PMI is doing a remarkably good job and generating “value for money” in U.S. global health efforts. Such results are all the more impressive in light of the common criticisms of USAID past and present – that it is ineffective, incompetent, and hampered by a complex and arcane bureaucracy. The PMI is a USAID success story that helps validate its ongoing efforts to reform and rebuild into the U.S.’s premier development agency.

Originally conceived in 2005 as a five-year, $1.2 billion scale-up of America’s malaria control efforts, the PMI was extended and expanded by the 2008 Lantos-Hyde Act, receiving $625 million in funding for FY2011. While its funding pales in comparison to PEPFAR, which received almost $7 billion for the same period, the PMI is among the largest global donors for malaria, aiming to halve the burden of malaria for 70 percent of at-risk populations in sub-Saharan Africa. Led by USAID under a U.S. Global Malaria Coordinator, the PMI is jointly implemented with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Clinton Defends International Affairs Budget on the Hill

Earlier this week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton withstood a grueling marathon of Congressional committee hearings in defense of the FY2013 international affairs budget request. As expected, the briefings ran the gamut of U.S. priorities in national security and foreign policy, touching on everything from U.S. engagement in the frontline states to crises in Egypt, Iran, and Syria, to cuts to PEPFAR and procurement reform.