US development policy is approaching a crossroads. The days of expanding US foreign assistance budgets are fading in the face of prolonged fiscal constraints. The US political environment also increasingly demands that aid demonstrate value, impact, and strategic relevance. Across the world, the need for development finance has changed even more dramatically. Many developing economies have boomed over the past decade, as has the availability of domestically mobilized resources and private capital. As a result, developing countries are focused more on attracting US investment, trade, and technology and less on traditional assistance. This is a sign of progress and success. At the same time, the United States will continue to rely upon foreign assistance tools to confront fragility in places such as Haiti, Pakistan, and parts of sub-Saharan Africa.
US development policies, priorities, and tools will need to shift to respond to this change. CGD’s Rethinking US Development Policy initiative reflects this broader agenda while continuing the Center’s tried and true monitoring of US foreign assistance programs and initiatives, such the MCC, Power Africa, and the Foreign Assistance Dashboard.
Senior fellow Ben Leo leads the Rethink initiative. He rejoined CGD in July 2013 after overseeing the ONE Campaign’s global policy operation for several years. He previously served in several senior US government positions at the US Treasury Department and National Security Council. From 2008 to 2010, Leo led business development efforts in Africa and the Middle East for Cisco Systems.
Follow @leo_benjamin on twitter.