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Rethinking US Development Policy

The Rethinking US Development Policy Blog complements CGD's Rethinking US Development Policy initiative. Both are for professionals interested in tracking US development policy and its impact on developing countries.

 

Congress Passes the Electrify Africa Act…Finally

Last night the House of Representatives passed the Electrify Africa Act.  They followed the Senate, which passed the same bill by unanimous consent last December.  Yes, amazingly enough, Congress has finally spoken:  Combatting African energy poverty is the official policy of the land, or at least will be once President Obama holds a signing ceremony in the next 14 days. 

STOP. Attempting to Overhaul the US Foreign Aid Apparatus is a Trap

The last time Congress overhauled the US foreign assistance apparatus, John F. Kennedy was president.  The Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (FAA) made some sweeping changes. There hasn’t been a wholesale reexamination of how US development programs are structured, administered, and coordinated.  Exhibit A is the fact that over 20 US agencies currently deliver aid programs.  As such, there is a compelling case for finally fixing a broken, fragmented, and underperforming system.  Yet pushing for a new FAA is a really bad idea. Whoever takes the White House in 2017 should not fall into this trap.

SFRC on the Future of MCC

Earlier this week, CGD president Nancy Birdsall testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at a hearing on the Millennium Challenge Corporation.  A main impetus for the hearing was the introduction this summer of legislation (S. 1605) that would enable MCC to pursue regionally-focused investments with eligible countries.  The hearing itself, however, was wide-ranging, covering the “current operations and authority” of MCC. 

Gayle Smith Confirmed as USAID Administrator: Four Goals for 14 Months

Yesterday the US Senate voted to confirm Gayle Smith as USAID’s new administrator. Despite the rapidly expiring clock on this administration, filling USAID’s top post is critical for both the agency and for US leadership in global crises and development efforts abroad. The Syrian refugee crisis shows no sign of abating, just last week Liberia found new Ebola cases, and 700 million people still live on less than $1.25 each day. In all of these challenges (among many others), USAID is the leading US actor for response, prevention, and results.  

MCC Serves Up a Half-Baked Compact

MCC will soon ask its board of directors to vote on a proposed $473 million second compact for Tanzania.  The program focuses on the energy sector, making it a big deliverable for Power Africa.  It’s also strongly aligned with the priorities of Tanzanian citizens, businesses, and the government.  But, as the compact currently stands, there are some pretty significant gaps, making it hard for the board to know just what it’s approving.  Most notably, it’s completely lac

Congress Talks MDBs

It was a beautiful, barely-fall Friday in Washington, which made it all the more impressive that twelve members dropped in on a morning House Financial Services Subcommittee hearing on the multilateral development banks (MDBs).

Half an Electrify Africa Bill: Better than None!

Power Africa has the potential to be a game changer for US foreign assistance and for how the United States works with Sub-Saharan Africa. Congressional authorization is needed to solidify Power Africa beyond President Obama's tenure. That’s why we were thrilled to see Electrify Africa pass the House last year (297-117) with bipartisan support and see nearly identical texts introduced this year in both the House andSenate (S. 1933 and H.R. 2847). Yet it was a disappointment to see that the bill dropped the key language related to the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) as introduced earlier this year. 

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