The US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) has been operating for less than two years, and already some lawmakers are keen to expand its mandate. On the one hand, it’s good to see such appreciation for the tools of development finance. On the other, we share deep misgivings about proposals that would authorize—and even encourage—DFC investment in upper-middle-income and high-income countries absent a strong developmental objective or justification.
CGD Policy Blogs
The global COVID response effort has been in desperate need of a shot in the arm. Yesterday’s US-hosted Global COVID-19 Summit, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, aimed to provide just that. Here are a few of the highlights, and what was missing.
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.
The recently released FY22 budget request includes more than $63.6 billion in international affairs spending, a more than 10 percent increase over the FY21 level absent the emergency spending provided in the end-of-year consolidated appropriations bill and supplemental funding included in the American Rescue Plan, the massive COVID relief package signed into law in March. Here’s a rundown of some of what we’ve learned about the administration’s overarching ambition and plans for future US development policy.
The American Rescue Plan—the massive COVID-19 relief package recently signed into law—has featured in plenty of headlines. While the vast majority of the nearly $1.9 trillion package is allocated to domestic relief and response, the legislation provides nearly $11 billion in supplemental international affairs spending. We dug in to see how this new injection of funding compares to emergency foreign assistance provided under previous pandemic-related legislation and share some areas we hope to see USAID and the State Department prioritize as they work to put the new money to good use.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee recently advanced the Global Learning Loss Assessment Act. This bipartisan, bicameral legislation shines a light on the critical issue of learning loss—and the impacts of disrupted education more broadly—as schools around the world closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s a quick overview of the evidence to date—and why it’s important that lawmakers (and USAID) are casting a watchful eye on global learning and inequality.
COVID-19 Vaccination and the Multilateral Development Banks: Moving Towards a More Systematic and Strategic Approach
How should the MDB vaccine effort intersect with global efforts like COVAX, or indeed plans to share or donate vaccine amongst countries? In this blog, we look at two issues raised by the World Bank’s approach so far and offer options for a better way forward.
The Biden administration and the Congress rightly went big in the recently passed American Rescue Plan at a time of tremendous need. The package was appropriately focused on the domestic side, but it did not neglect the rest of the world. One might reasonably ask then why $1 billion or $2 billion could not have been included for fighting the poverty, food insecurity, and health crises driven by the pandemic. That would have amounted 0.05 to 0.1 percent of the total package. And it would have been multiplied many times over in additional poverty reduction dollars, because that it was the MDB model does.
The White House and the World: Practical Proposals for Resetting US Engagement in Developing Countries
When President-Elect Biden takes office in January, he will face a daunting set of challenges in the US wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic. His administration’s core agenda will necessarily be shaped by the twin imperatives of containing the virus itself and supporting Americans as they weather the economic effects of the crisis. Both tasks will be considerably more difficult if US policy doesn’t also pivot toward constructive engagement with the rest of the world.
The Trump administration’s “America First” doctrine has often colored US development policy in an unfavorable way, seeming to inform decisions to withdraw from international dialogues on collective action challenges, restrict migration, and adopt a short-term, transactional view of foreign assistance. These actions have reflected poorly on the United States’ role as a global leader and have considerable implications for development outcomes.