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This blog also appeared on the Huffington Post
Secretary Clinton will be leaving August 5 for a seven-country tour of Africa. She will hit Kenya, South Africa, Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Liberia, and Cape Verde. (Whew!) The itinerary suggests that the theme of the trip will be more real politik than President Obama’s recent visit to Ghana which stressed good governance and was a celebration of Ghana’s recent electoral and economic successes. The Secretary, in choosing the largest economies and the continent’s most influential capitals, is likely to highlight more traditional U.S. economic and security interests. A few thoughts on what to expect -- and what Africa can hope for:
This is a joint posting with Sarah Jane Staats and also appeared on the Huffington Post
Amidst of a month of partisan battles on Capitol Hill over a Supreme Court nominee, healthcare and financial regulation, a new bill was introduced this week that rose above party lines: the Foreign Assistance Revitalization and Accountability Act of 2009 (S. 1524). Senators Kerry, Lugar, Menendez, Corker, Risch and Cardin--three Democrats and three Republicans--introduced the bill as “a first step toward comprehensive reform of U.S. foreign assistance,” showing they are ready, willing and able to work with the administration on a set of deeper reforms.
International cooperation on climate change got bad press during Secretary Clinton’s Asia trip this month, when Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh rebuffed Washington's position that advanced developing countries should take on emission caps. The New York Times story “Meeting Shows U.S.-India Split On Emissions” started with a description of a tour of an innovative, energy-efficient office building:
UK Minister for International Development Douglas Alexander presented at a CGD roundtable yesterday a new poverty action plan to help the world’s poorest people cope with the global economic crisis. Alexander said that the measures described in the new UK government White Paper, Eliminating World Poverty: Building Our Common Future would help 50 million people hit by the crisis, keeping children in school, parents in jobs, and the most vulnerable people out of destitution.
Congress should focus U.S. foreign assistance on human and economic development to buttress vulnerable societies against the inevitable impacts of climate change, CGD senior fellow David Wheeler told members of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and the Global Environment at a congressional hearing last week.
In a recent interview on CNN en Español I discussed the evolving role of the U.S. Federal Reserve Board and its implications for developing countries. People in Latin America are following this issue closely. That’s because the global crisis has reminded everybody that an unstable financial sector in the industrial countries has powerful ripple effects not only on the financial sector of developing countries but also on the real economy, with serious consequences for poverty and inequality.
In a recent blog post Duncan Green of Oxfam briefly introduced COD Aid (for what that is go here) and raised a few good questions (along with a disclaimer that he needs to learn more) about the approach. One concern he raised is whether the approach doesn’t pass the donor’s usual attribution test, i.e. the test of whether the donor’s aid made some positive and measurable difference.