CGD Policy Blogs
President Obama is wheels up for Africa Wednesday. The White House and US development agencies have been unusually quiet prior to departure, but some things are sure to be on the agenda: economic growth, trade, investment, democracy, youth, food security, and health. Obama is widely expected to announce a new power initiative. But Nelson Mandela’s failing health could dramatically shift the trips’ tone and focus.
The Royce-Engel amendment to reform US food aid failed 203-220 in the House this week, as did the farm bill to which it was attached. The food aid amendment would have relaxed requirements that the United States buy American commodities and ship them on US ships. It's painful to see a smart foreign aid reform that would save lives and taxpayer money suffer a narrow defeat.
For good or ill, high profile visits by the President of the United States always come with some major new announcements, AKA “deliverables”.
If you’re in Washington today, you know it’s cloudy outside. But did you know there was an MCC board meeting, too? Probably not if, like me, you look to the Federal Register to confirm if and when the board plans to meet and what’s on the agenda.
There are many, many problems with the House farm bill being debated this week but there are two amendments that would make significant improvements. The first (#55 in this list) is a version of the Royce-Bass Food Aid Reform Act that would provide authorization to untie up to 45 percent of the emergency food aid budget and allow the US Agency for International Development to provide assistance in whatever form—food purchased in the US or locally, vouchers, or cash transfers—would help the most people the quickest.
As Zimbabwe heads into elections late this summer (spoiler alert: Mugabe will “win”), the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs is holding a hearing titled Examining Prospects for Democratic Reform and Economic Recovery in Zimbabwe, Tuesday June 18 at 10 am.
CGD’s Todd Moss, along with Dewa Mahvinga from Human Rights Watch and Mark Schneider from International Crisis Group are testifying, as are Acting Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Yamamoto and Assistant Administrator for Africa of USAID Earl Gast on the government panel.
In response to a global movement for increased aid transparency, and a domestic US push for greater government transparency in general, the US government has promised to disclose much more information about US foreign assistance. The main result is a new US Foreign Assistance Dashboard, managed by the State Department, that is designated as a public data repository for 22 US agencies that fund or deliver foreign assistance.
To learn how it’s working, I invited Sarah Jane Staats, who directs CGD’s Rethinking US Foreign Assistance Program to join me on this week’s Wonkcast.