The last time Congress overhauled the US foreign assistance apparatus, John F. Kennedy was president. The Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (FAA) made some sweeping changes. There hasn’t been a wholesale reexamination of how US development programs are structured, administered, and coordinated. Exhibit A is the fact that over 20 US agencies currently deliver aid programs. As such, there is a compelling case for finally fixing a broken, fragmented, and underperforming system. Yet pushing for a new FAA is a really bad idea. Whoever takes the White House in 2017 should not fall into this trap.
CGD Policy Blogs
Yesterday the UK government formally launched its much-awaited Energy Africa campaign, which aims to accelerate electricity access for rural Africans. In a surprise move, DfID’s new plans include only support for small-scale solar power solutions. Typically these systems provide just enough power for a LED light bulb or two and a cellphone charger (see here and here for a few DfID favorites).
Mobile phone surveys are fast, flexible, and cheap. But, can they be used to engage citizens on how billions of dollars in donor and government resources are spent?
Today the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) dropped its long awaited Electrify Africa Act of 2015. It's good news for US development, foreign, and commercial policy in Sub-Saharan Africa. Whereas the last Congress was unable to get similar legislation over the finish line, we are hoping that this one will get the job done. There are three key reasons for why this is so important.
Last week, Nigerian President Buhari and President Obama spoke at length in the Oval Office. Much of the discussion focused on defeating Boko Haram and rooting out corruption in Nigeria. Yet, President Obama’s Power Africa Initiative, which aims to help provide access to 60 million households and businesses across Africa, was also high on the agenda.
Why should global development policy be important to the next US President? This is what we’re asking in today’s CGD Podcast. And what should the next administration do to make sure the US retains and reinforces its influence with developing nations?
What does the 2016 election mean for America’s future position in the world? It’s likely too early to tell at this stage of the campaign cycle. Many of the early Republican contenders — such as Jeb Bush and Scott Walker — have been relatively quiet on foreign policy issues or have focused almost exclusively on Iran, Israel, and Russia. That’s to be expected at this point. Yet, other candidates — like Marco Rubio and Lindsey Graham — are already outlining a more comprehensive vision for advancing American interests.
Congress apparently isn’t getting the data it wants from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, or OPIC. That makes two of us. The House Appropriations Committee is now calling for OPIC to provide reporting on the volume and destination of all new loans, guarantees, and insurance transactions.