More Money, More Problems: A 2012 Assessment of the US Approach to Development in Pakistan

In March 2009, the Obama administration announced its intention to significantly increase civilian (nonsecurity) assistance to Pakistan. Underlying this new push was a realization within the administration that Pakistan’s ability to grow economically, to meet its citizens’ basic needs, and to reduce conflict, insecurity, and instability depended on the establishment of a more capable, democratic state. Congress endorsed this approach by passing the Enhanced Partnership for Pakistan Act (commonly referred to as the Kerry-Lugar-Berman bill, or simply KLB), which authorized $7.5 billion in US economic assistance to Pakistan over the five years following its passage.

In early 2010, the Center for Global Development convened a study group to evaluate this new approach and to offer practical and timely recommendations to US policymakers on the effective deployment of aid and nonaid instruments in Pakistan. Its report, Beyond Bullets and Bombs: Fixing the US Approach to Development in Pakistan, detailed serious shortcomings in US strategy and execution.

This report is a staff update to the original report. Its authors conclude that in the three years since KLB’s passage the US development approach toward Pakistan has failed to achieve what its creators and administration proponents had hoped it would. They identify the fixable problems that hinder US development efforts in Pakistan and offer five recommendations for the future:

  1. Keep the economic and development policy conversation going.
  2. Avoid the rush: spend KLB over more years.
  3. Focus on what the United States can do best.
  4. Development with friends: channel more US aid dollars through other donors.
  5. Focus on transparency, not branding and logos.
Report Card: US Approach to Development in Pakistan

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