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The U.S. response in Haiti must be about more than aid, CGD president Nancy Birdsall told Congress this week. She urged members of Congress to push for better trade and migration policies—in addition to more flexibility with our assistance efforts—to help Haiti rebuild after the earthquake.
This is a joint post with Molly Kinder.
At CGD, we normally conduct research and analysis on development issues (trade, aid effectiveness, climate change, global health), not developing countries. Pakistan is an exception. Motivated by national security interests, the Obama administration is poised to triple its development assistance to Pakistan. The effectiveness of this new U.S. assistance is imperiled by the same governance problems that have undermined the billions spent by the U.S. and other donors in the last 30 years. Given these challenges, how can the new pledges of U.S. aid to Pakistan be implemented effectively, and what, if any, other policy or program initiatives might matter?
To address these questions, we recently launched a new CGD initiative on the U.S. development strategy in Pakistan. As part of this initiative we have convened a study group, comprising leading experts in development economics, national security, aid effectiveness and including several prominent Pakistanis. The study group will meet regularly over the next year to help us prepare periodic open letters to the administration commenting on and hopefully helping improve the assistance program, as well as trade and other U.S. policies aimed at greater security, stability and prosperity in Pakistan.
When I was writing about third world debt a decade ago, I watched Jubilee 2000 and other debt cancellation campaigners pound their way to victory with simplistic claims about the importance of debt cancellation, such as that principal and interest payments were diverting enough government revenue from poor countries' health budgets to kill 19,000 children per day. I wondered: are they naive or am I?
You might know that I am writing a book about microfinance in public, via blogus. I'm working on the last chapter now, and that has me in a reflective mood. Here, I'd like to share one big idea that I discovered by writing the book. I am fired up about it, and I'd appreciate feedback on whether it is dumb, old, useless, or all three.