Ideas to Action:

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CGD Policy Blogs

 

STOP. Attempting to Overhaul the US Foreign Aid Apparatus is a Trap

The last time Congress overhauled the US foreign assistance apparatus, John F. Kennedy was president.  The Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (FAA) made some sweeping changes. There hasn’t been a wholesale reexamination of how US development programs are structured, administered, and coordinated.  Exhibit A is the fact that over 20 US agencies currently deliver aid programs.  As such, there is a compelling case for finally fixing a broken, fragmented, and underperforming system.  Yet pushing for a new FAA is a really bad idea. Whoever takes the White House in 2017 should not fall into this trap.

Gayle Smith Confirmed as USAID Administrator: Four Goals for 14 Months

Yesterday the US Senate voted to confirm Gayle Smith as USAID’s new administrator. Despite the rapidly expiring clock on this administration, filling USAID’s top post is critical for both the agency and for US leadership in global crises and development efforts abroad. The Syrian refugee crisis shows no sign of abating, just last week Liberia found new Ebola cases, and 700 million people still live on less than $1.25 each day. In all of these challenges (among many others), USAID is the leading US actor for response, prevention, and results.  

What I Hope to Hear in the First GOP Presidential Debate

The Republican presidential primary debate season starts this Thursday evening (August 6). Although the discussion won’t center on global development policy or even foreign policy, if the questions from the 2012 debates are any indication, we should expect quite a few questions on foreign policy. This time, Rob Morello hopes to hear better answers.

2015 Feed the Future Progress Report Leaves Food for Thought

Launched in response to the 2007-2008 global food price crisis, Feed the Future is the Administration’s flagship initiative for addressing global hunger, food security, and agricultural livelihoods. Along with Power Africa, the Initiative looks to be a key component of President Obama’s development legacy. This latest report provides a glimpse into what this $1 billion a year effort has achieved over the last five years. Even with this new report in hand, there are still more questions than answers. 

Sputters or Sparks from Power Africa?

A New York Times piece alleging a “sputtering” Power Africa in advance of President Obama’s trip to Kenya and Ethiopia took us by surprise. To those of us who have been avidly following Power Africa and the continent’s long march toward universal electrification, it’s far too early to draw such negative conclusions on the initiative’s success—much less its future impact. Instead, the early signs are actually quite positive. 

USAID Administrator Nomination Hearing Wednesday

Congress has not exactly had an impressive track record on confirmations for the past few years. So when Raj Shah stepped down as USAID Administrator in December 2014, many at CGD and elsewhere bemoaned the possibility of an empty top slot at the agency for the remainder of the administration. But President Obama and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee proved the cynics wrong by quickly appointing National Security Council Senior Director Gayle Smith and scheduling a nomination hearing this Wednesday, respectively.

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