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CGD Policy Blogs


Inspector General Gives USAID Failing Grade in Haiti

On September 26, the Office of the Inspector General for USAID issued a blistering evaluation of USAID's activities in Haiti.  The report focuses on implementation of the Haiti Recovery Initiative (HRI) which supports short- and medium-term reconstruction projects. Overall, the audit states that the work is “not on track” and identifies areas for improvement including: monitoring and evaluation, community involvement, technical assistance, and the need for environmental reviews.  These are some of the themes that we also highlighted in our CGD Policy Paper entitled "Haiti: Where Has All the Money Gone?" We proposed three solutions to improving the use of taxpayer dollars in Haiti:

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?

Party On? US Political Platforms and Development

With the US presidential election fast approaching we’ve heard almost nothing about US leadership on global development from the candidates or their surrogates. This is a striking difference from 2008 when development issues made the national agenda and were featured in roundtable discussions at both conventions. While development wasn’t entirely missing from this year’s conventions—check out U.S. Global Leadership Coalition’s recaps of its co-sponsored events on foreign policy and development—it seems to us that it’s been missing from the broader conversation on the campaign trail. Lacking such public pronouncements, we dug into the Democratic and Republican 2012 Party Platforms for indications of where the parties stand on policies that affect development. Admittedly, the platforms don’t provide a lot of detail and certainly aren’t blueprints for the next administration. But right now it’s about all we have to go on. And if past platforms are any indication, at least some of the parties’ stated positions will become future administrations’ policy.

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.

USAID Staffer Tracker Update: Legislative and Public Affairs Nomination

After a whopping forty-four months, the White House nominated a USAID assistant administrator for legislative and public affairs yesterday. Chuck Cooper, if confirmed by the Senate, would move to USAID from a similar (though not Senate-confirmed) position at MCC. The kicker? The Senate is scheduled to recess at the end of next week until after the Nov. 6 elections. This leaves two big questions: will he be confirmed at all and if so, will he have time to make an impact?