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CGD Policy Blogs

 

Is Anyone Listening to What Ordinary Africans Think?

“Too often, donors’ decisions are driven more by our own political interests or our policy preferences than by our partners’ needs.”

These charged words did not come from an energetic NGO arguing for major changes to US development policy.  They were delivered by then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to a high-level gathering of development officials in late 2011. 

Is Anyone Listening? US Foreign Aid (Mis)Alignment – Benjamin Leo

My guest on this week’s Global Prosperity Wonkcast is CGD senior fellow and director of the Rethinking US Development Policy program Ben Leo, here to discuss his new CGD working paper, Is Anyone Listening?  in which he examines how well US foreign assistance aligns with the priorities of people in recipient countries. Answer: not so much or, as Ben puts it more diplomatically: “the alignment is modest at best.”

A New Focus for USAID: Ending Extreme Poverty

On Thursday, USAID Administrator Raj Shah is set to give a speech at Brookings on the goal of ending extreme poverty, planned to put a bit more policy oomph behind the President’s call in the State of the Union earlier this year for America to join with its allies to end $1.25 poverty in two decades.  Here’s some things it would be great to hear in the speech:

Does US Food Aid Have to Pit the Philippines Against Syria?

This is a joint post with Will McKitterick.

On NPR this morning, Dan Charles told Morning Edition Host Renee Montagne that the Philippines is fortunate that the typhoon struck early in the US government’s fiscal year, when “there's plenty of cash available to spend” for food aid. That means that the US Agency for International Development (USAID) was able to immediately provide $8 million for World Food Programme (WFP) relief operations, with a promise of $10 million to $15 million more later. Had the typhoon struck a few months earlier, however, cash for such crises would have been exhausted by relief operations in Syria.

Better Aid? Yes, Minister

A year ago, ActionAid Italy and and BOND came out with a report on aid agency independence.  Comparing the performance of independent aid ministries with aid agencies that function under another ministry (foreign affairs, as it might be), the report made the case that “there is a positive correlation between a cabinet rank minister and better development systems including aid commitments being honored, aid levels that are less volatile and an increase in aid quality and effectiveness.” 

Half a Loaf of Food Aid Reform Would Help Millions More—But Will We See Only Crumbs?

The Obama administration’s FY14 budget request included a food aid reform proposal that the administration estimated would allow US food aid to reach an addition 2-4 million people per year—for roughly what the United States spends now. My colleagues Kim Elliott and Will McKitterick have a new brief out that argues this is a conservative estimate. Their calculations suggest that the reforms would help at least 4 million more people, and maybe as many as 10 million for the same amount of money as under the current inefficient system.