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CGD President Nancy Birdsall praised the intent of new legislation (S. 2166) to expand debt relief to additional poor countries, but cautioned against the bill in its current form last week at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing. She urged the U.S.
Rep. Howard Berman, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, opened the first of a series of hearings on foreign assistance reform with a bold statement last Wednesday calling for major overhaul of the system. Says Berman:
This morning, the House Foreign Affairs Committee convened its members to discuss with Defense Secretary Robert Gates the "persistent imbalance between U.S. funding for defense and diplomacy." According to a House Foreign Affairs Committee press release Chairman Berman referred to President Bush's 2002 National Security which affirmed that diplomacy and development are as important as defense. Berman said:
Yesterday President George Bush reported on his recent trip to Africa to members of the diplomatic corps, NGOs, and development policymakers at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C. at an event hosted by the Leon H. Sullivan Foundation. President Bush relayed the details of what he called his "most exciting, exhilarating and uplifting trip" since becoming president and showed slides from his visits to Benin, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana and Liberia. He argued Americans should be "mighty proud" of the work the U.S.
On Friday, USAID Administrator and Director of U.S. Foreign Assistance Henrietta Fore unveiled to a standing-room-only CGD audience her much-awaited strategy for revitalizing our outdated foreign assistance apparatus in a speech titled Foreign Assistance: An Agenda for Reform. Four major actions drive her modernization plan:
*This is a joint post with Steve Radelet
The extraordinary challenges and opportunities of today require a new vision of American global leadership based on the strength of our core values, ideas and ingenuity. They call for an integrated foreign policy that promotes our values, enhances our security, helps create economic and political opportunities for people around the world, and restores America's faltering image abroad. We cannot rely exclusively or even primarily on military might to meet these goals. Instead, we must make greater use of all the tools of statecraft through "smart power," including diplomacy, trade, investment, intelligence, and a strong and effective foreign assistance strategy.
*This is a joint post with Steve Radelet
Yesterday in an interview with NPR, Defense Secretary Robert Gates made a strong and smart argument for supporting American troops. No surprises there, right? Except for the fact that he is defending the build-up of civilian troops -- our diplomatic and development corps -- to be America's front line of defense in fighting global poverty and insecurity. Much as he did in his brilliant speech at Kansas State University in November, Gates encourages the United States to devote more resources and create new institutions for nonmilitary means of influence abroad: diplomacy, strategic communications, foreign assistance, civic action, and economic reconstruction and development. His message:
If we are to meet the myriad challenges around the world in the coming decades, this country must strengthen other important elements of national power both institutionally and financially, and create the capability to integrate and apply all of the elements of national power to problems and challenges abroad.
And, how specifically do we elevate global development policy in the national interest? Says Gates:
What is clear to me is that there is a need for a dramatic increase in spending on the civilian instruments of national security -- diplomacy, strategic communications, foreign assistance, civic action, and economic reconstruction and development....The way to institutionalize these capabilities is probably not to recreate or repopulate institutions of the past such as AID or USIA. On the other hand, just adding more people to existing government departments such as Agriculture, Treasury, Commerce, Justice and so on is not a sufficient answer either -- even if they were to be more deployable overseas. New institutions are needed for the 21st century, new organizations with a 21st century mind-set.
The Templeton Foundation's ad in Sunday's NYTimes, and the associated postings on the foundation's Web site asked "Will Money Solve Africa's Development Problems?" A quick glance at the distribution of answers is bound to cause some chagrin in the development aid world. Of the eight men asked, two said "yes," five said "no" or "no way" or "I thought so" (which I took as a 'no") and one hedged his bet with "only if."
A Washington Post editorial today ( A Fight Over Corruption ) says that the new report by former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker on the effectiveness of the World Bank's anti-corruption department, (the Institutional Integrity Department or INT)) "reserved its toughest language for the bank bureaucracy itself." The editorial then quotes from the report: