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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”.
An open letter to President Obama and congressional leaders on the importance of global development and foreign assistance reform was published in Politico last week on behalf of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) and signed by more than 150 influential individuals and organizations. The letter says, in part:
This is a joint posting with David Beckmann, originally appearing on the Huffington Post Web site on March 17, 2009.
In the face of big global challenges, President Obama has rightly called for a new, smarter U.S. foreign policy that focuses on bolstering our long-term security, building our alliances, and expanding global prosperity. A central element of his new approach is elevating U.S. support for global development and balancing it with defense and diplomacy, which in practice means strengthening U.S. foreign assistance and other programs that fight poverty, disease, and lack of opportunity in developing nations.