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
What US Government Initiative Do All Three 2019 Economics Nobel Winners Like? (Hint: It’s at USAID.)
It’s rare that good ideas in economics get such strong bipartisan political support in Washington. Hopefully that’s a sign of a secure future for DIV.
The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) has officially kicked off its FY2017 “selection cycle” with last week’s release of the “Candidate Country Report.” Normally this is a pretty pro forma step that’s hardly blogworthy, but this year’s report showcases the inadequacy of the current rules that determine MCC’s candidate pool and the unnecessary instability they create—this year three countries that formerly “graduated” are suddenly back in the pool.
Yesterday at the White House Summit on Global Development, as President Obama outlined the programmatic successes of his administration’s global development policy (all genuine and worthy of acclaim), he didn’t even bother to mention the response to the global financial crisis that consumed his administration for much of its first year. Yet, when we consider just how perilous the economic conditions were for the United States and the world during that time, it is not unreasonable to conclude that the cause of global development was served at least as much by these efforts than by any single development initiative launched by an American president.
With election-year events crowding out the legislative calendar, there’s only so many more opportunities for the Senate to show its commitment to development and its interest in improving US development policy. Legislators still have a week and a half in town, and we were encouraged to see the Senate Foreign Relations Committee fit in an important hearing on the role of US foreign aid in spurring economic growth.
Last week, Nigerian President Buhari and President Obama spoke at length in the Oval Office. Much of the discussion focused on defeating Boko Haram and rooting out corruption in Nigeria. Yet, President Obama’s Power Africa Initiative, which aims to help provide access to 60 million households and businesses across Africa, was also high on the agenda.
The quick answer is: not too much. The longer answer is that the 2015 Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) could be meaningful for USAID if the recommendations are backed by a shift in operations and funding within the Agency. Let me explain.
After reaffirming the elevation of development and its rightful place as a powerful foreign policy tool, the QDDR lays out four strategic priorities for USAID and the State Department:
In testimony last week before the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health Policy, CGD’s Ben Leo called upon Congress to modernize how the United States supports economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa. The hearing was called to reflect on the progress since the August 2014 US-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington and to address obstacles that continue to discourage greater private-sector engagement in the region.
Jobs and economic opportunies are increasingly at the top of developing nations' agendas. According to CGD senior fellow Ben Leo, China and other emerging market nations are aligning their development tools and activities with these new priorities.