USAID Administrator Samantha Power appeared before House and Senate authorizing committees late last week to discuss the agency’s FY22 budget. It wasn’t surprising to hear Administrator Power make a case for strong US global engagement—including robust aid investments and continued commitment to humanitarian response. But she also demonstrated—in a number of important ways—a clear-eyed focus on development effectiveness. Below we highlight several issues we were glad to see receive attention.
CGD Policy Blogs
Even before the Biden-Harris administration took office, they made clear that one of their top international priorities would be renewing the United States’ commitment to multilateralism. Within the international financial institutions (IFIs)—the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF)—as well as the United Nations, the US agenda over the next four years will be one of re-engaging with management and rebuilding coalitions with allied shareholders to advance priority issues and approaches. One of these priority areas will be improving the effectiveness of engagement in fragile states.
Governments, impact investors, and philanthropists are increasingly looking for innovative ways to address tricky development challenges. USAID’s Development Innovation Ventures (DIV)—which celebrated its 10-year anniversary last year—was set up to do just that.
When the COVID-19 crisis hit, policymakers the world over found themselves grappling with urgent decisions in the face of uncertainty. The pandemic had quickly turned people’s lives and livelihoods on their heads, and the data available to guide policy response was often incomplete or outdated.
Not only is Ambassador Power a high-profile pick who will bring clout and deep foreign policy experience to USAID, but the announcement itself also conveyed a clear message that the Biden administration is keen to elevate global development. Here are some of the priorities Ambassador Power has highlighted and how they will translate to US development policy.
It’s also become increasingly clear that while regional compacts represent an important new tool in MCC’s toolbox, they’re likely to remain a limited part of the agency’s overall portfolio, in large part because of MCC’s country eligibility requirements. This blog outlines the limitations and poses some questions the agency will need to address when considering its next regional investments.
On December 15, the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s board of directors will hold its annual country selection meeting (the last of the Trump administration), identifying which countries will be made newly eligible for the agency’s funding. Every year CGD’s US Development Policy team highlights key issues the board will grapple with and predicts which countries the board will choose for compacts—large, five-year grant programs—and which it will select for threshold programs—smaller, more limited grant agreements.
Drawing on work done jointly with CGD, New York University’s Center on International Cooperation (CIC) just released a paper by Marc Jacquand that makes the case for better IFI-UN coordination in fragile states to better identify macroeconomic and political vulnerabilities, anticipate the tipping points that can arise from their interaction, and structure preventive support accordingly. In this blog, we discuss some of the key issues that the CIC paper—and our joint work—raise and plot a course for future research and analysis.
Whether a COVID-induced expansion of cash transfers can set the stage for increased use of cash as a broader development tool remains to be seen.
MCC’s experience offers useful lessons for the State Department and other GFA implementing agencies.