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CGD Policy Blogs

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A USAID logo on a cargo shipment

Optimism and Advice for Advancing USAID’s Vision for Locally-led Development: A Conversation With Randy Tift

I sat down with Randy Tift who, between 2017 and 2021, co-led USAID’s Effective Partnering and Procurement Reform (EPPR) process and launched the New Partnerships Initiative (NPI), under the leadership of then-USAID Administrator Mark Green. Randy is currently a Senior Associate at Oxford House. He’s also working on an in-depth paper on the past and future of USAID’s reform agenda, which CGD will publish in early 2022. Randy is optimistic about what he sees taking shape at the agency and has some ideas for how to advance Power’s vision. 

An image of a woman working on a road in Cameroon.

Building Metrics for the US National Gender Strategy: From Aspiration to Action

With the Biden-Harris administration’s release of the first-ever National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality, the United States has taken an unprecedented step in seeking to close gender gaps at home and abroad. In light of persistent gender inequalities, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, policymakers across the globe need to ensure an inclusive recovery:  — one that makes gender equality central to building back better and to long-term development efforts. The strategy is an important step toward achieving this goal. 

An image of the Capitol Building in Washington DC.

“Challenge is our Middle Name:” Key Issues for MCC in FY2022

We’re already a few weeks into the new fiscal year, but nevertheless it’s good to see the House Foreign Affairs Committee has plans to delve into the FY2022 budget request for the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), alongside the requests for DFC and the Peace Corps. Looking only at the topline figure, MCC appears to fare well this year, coming in at $912 million. This is the highest request since FY2017 and equal to last year’s enacted level. But that topline belies a major recission of $515 million in unobligated prior year funds, which could have real implications for the agency’s operations now and in the future.

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.

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