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As others before me have reported, Paul Farmer, the longest-rumored contender for the USAID Administrator nomination, is out of the running. And so begins again a courtship ritual that, funny enough, is captured in the old children’s rhyme that bears his name.
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.
One hundred days into the Obama administration many in the development community are asking: where is the USAID administrator? Impatience is mounting for news of leadership on development policy and reform of U.S. foreign assistance. President Obama named his picks to lead defense and diplomacy—Robert Gates and Hillary Clinton—well before he took office.
To all those concerned about the future of foreign aid, please take the opportunity to read the works included in CGD’s new Innovations in Aid mini-series. The first paper in this series “The End of ODA” is by Jean-Michel Severino and Olivier Ray, and though it was started before the current global financial crisis reached its height, it is more relevant today than ever before. In this paper Severino and Ray describe shifts in the objectives of ODA (official development assistance) over time, and conclude that it is time to reform the concept and rename it “Global Policy Finance”.
Last week, I sent a policy memo to the White House recommending they amend Presidential Policy Directive 1 (PPD-1) which sets out the organization and membership of the National Security Council, to add the USAID Administrator. Why? Three main reasons:
1. It puts real action to the Obama campaign pledge and, most recently its new Afghanistan and Pakistan strategy, to elevate development in U.S. national security and foreign policy.