Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

CGD Policy Blogs

Current search

Topic

 

USAID Administrator Samantha Power speaks at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine.

Power Play: USAID's Administrator Makes the Case for Global Engagement, More Focus on Effectiveness

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.  

USAID COVID-19 supplies are sitting on a shelf.

The Enduring Struggle Against Aid Instrumentalism

John Norris’ fascinating new book The Enduring Struggle: The History of the US Agency for International Development, provides an authoritative history of US foreign assistance from the end of the Second World War until today. It is packed with anecdotes and quotes from people who were working on projects and working in the halls of Washington (although that many anecdotes and quotes in 300 pages was tough on those of us vainly resisting the transition to bifocals). However it is the book’s conclusion, in particular, that should be required reading for those in Washington who oversee America’s assistance programs.

An empty classroom in Sikkim, India

US Congress Raises Alarm on Global Learning Loss and Inequality

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.

Samantha Power gesturing while seated in front of an American flag

Four Ideas for Samantha Power’s USAID

These proposals would cost money (and so the need to work with Congress), but all are tied to America’s strategic interests and all would help the world exit the COVID pandemic and global recession with greater speed and resiliency.

An image showing the entrance of the US Agency for International Development

How the Next USAID Administrator Can Double Down on Development

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.

Pages