Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

Pakistan: US Development Strategy

CGD convened a Study Group on the US Development Strategy in Pakistan to draw lessons from past experiences and offer practical recommendations to US policymakers on the effective deployment of foreign assistance and other, nonaid instruments for achieving sustainable development in Pakistan.  As the relationship between the United States and Pakistan evolves, CGD continues to identify the fixable problems that hinder US development efforts in Pakistan and offer recommendations for the future.

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US policymakers view Pakistan as one of the most critical fronts in the American-led effort to combat violent extremism, and the Obama administration has worked to significantly increase civilian (nonsecurity) assistance to the country. Underlying this new push was a realization within the administration that Pakistan’s ability to grow economically, to meet its citizens’ basic needs, and to reduce conflict, insecurity, and instability depended on the establishment of a more capable, democratic state. Congress endorsed an approach to do so by passing the Enhanced Partnership for Pakistan Act (commonly referred to as the Kerry-Lugar-Berman bill, or simply KLB), which authorized $7.5 billion in US economic assistance to Pakistan over the five years following its passage.

In early 2010, the Center for Global Development convened a study group to evaluate this new approach and to offer practical and timely recommendations to US policymakers on the effective deployment of aid and nonaid instruments in Pakistan. Its report, Beyond Bullets and Bombs: Fixing the US Approach to Development in Pakistan, detailed serious shortcomings in US strategy and execution.

In the years since KLB’s passage the US development approach toward Pakistan has failed to achieve what its creators and administration proponents had hoped it would. The strategy has been imperiled by the same old problems that have undermined the effectiveness of billions of dollars that the United States and other donors have spent on development in Pakistan over the past three decades: weak governance, political instability, and widespread corruption.

A follow-up report, More Money, More Problems:  A 2012 Assessment of the US Approach to Development in Pakistan, identified the fixable problems that hinder US development efforts in Pakistan and offered recommendations for the future.