Ideas to Action:

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CGD Policy Blogs

 

The Next Administration Should Close Africa’s Energy Poverty Gap

What’s going to be President Obama’s legacy on Africa?  President Clinton championed AGOA, still the core of US-Africa trade relations. President Bush built PEPFAR and the MCC.  There’s an outside chance that Feed the Future could be Obama’s lasting contribution, but I think the jury’s still out.  So what kind of big impact-big splash effort could we hope for in the next four years, from either a second Obama term or a new Romney administration?

Why Khartoum Needs an Ambassador, Not a USAID Mission

The tragic loss of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three of his staff in Benghazi last week brought back all too vivid memories of USAID/Sudan’s loss of two dedicated staff in a terrorist attack on New Year’s morning 2008. (I was the head of USAID's Africa bureau at the time.) In the wake of last Friday’s attack on the US embassy in Khartoum, I’m pondering anew the rationale behind the official American presence in Khartoum and the Government of Sudan’s commitment to its safety.

Africa Doesn't Need the Pentagon's Charity - Why I'm Grumpy About DOD's Development Programs in Africa

This blog was originally featured at AllAfrica.com.

In her recent Foreign Policy column, "The Pivot to Africa," Rosa Brooks made a plea for letting go of comfortable old assumptions about roles and missions between the civilian and non-civilian sides of the US government, particularly when it comes to US civil-military cooperation in Africa. My plea is for an evidence-based discussion of US development policy and its intersection with US national security.

US interests will be ill-served if we merely move from comfortable old (and false) assumptions about poverty and terrorism in Africa to comfortable new (and equally false) assumptions about "whole-of-government responses" to complex challenges. While the United States should of course think and work creatively, skepticism and, dare I say, opposition, from civilian agencies to AFRICOM taking on non-traditional military roles is not rooted in turf battles but in legitimate concerns about efficiency and results.

What Next for US Aid in Ethiopia?

The death of Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi after twenty-one years in charge raises fresh questions about the future of US foreign aid to the country – including all three of President Obama’s development initiatives – and the conundrum of focusing aid in countries whose leaders hang on to power for more than a decade. Could a new rule banning foreign aid to long-serving heads of state help?

In Africa, Would the Chinese Ambassador Open with “It’s 9:00, Do You Know Where Your Kids Are?”

During a recent vacation in an African country (that shall remain nameless here), I found myself, entirely by accident, sharing a large bush camp dinner table with a delegation of local officials and the US ambassador to that country.  Hmm, what would they talk about?   Political intrigue? Business deals?  The Olympics?  Instead I cringed at the actual topic:  “So, how are you integrating youth outreach into your conservation programs?”

President Obama’s Economic Strategy for Africa: Aid-Plus but Will It Last?

The United States’ strategy towards Africa has shifted from “how much aid” to how to attract trade and investment, said White House Deputy National Security Advisor Michael Froman in a major speech at the Center for Global Development this week. The standing-room only crowd seemed to welcome the emphasis on aid-plus, or more than aid approaches in Sub-Saharan Africa. CGD President Nancy Birdsall praised the administration’s “excellent vision” around the tough issues of economic growth and equal opportunity.