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The Trump administration delivered its FY 2019 budget request to Capitol Hill this week. Containing deep cuts to the international affairs budget, it looks a lot like a repeat of the FY 2018 request. And with a 30 percent reduction in topline spending, few programs were spared. Meanwhile, buried among the rubble are smart reform ideas that run the risk of being overshadowed—or even undermined—by the depth of the proposed spending reductions.
Debt relief is high on the Sudanese government’s agenda. This week’s budget proposals coming out of the White House indicate that Sudan may finally get its wish—but there’s something weird about where the money comes from. Here I offer an alternative.
In 1944, the United States created a blueprint for economic statecraft that relied heavily on a new class of multilateral institutions to pursue US interests in the world. The blueprint itself is now under serious duress in the “America First” strategy of international engagement of the Trump administration.
Center for Global Development
HShulman@cgdev.org, (202) 416-4040
Washington – Today, the Trump administration included in its budget funding for a new Development Finance Institution (see page 129 here).
Below is a statement from Todd Moss, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, who has been a leading advocate for modernizing U.S. development finance over the past several years:
“Because of the changing global landscape, development finance – rather than aid – is the future. Many previously poor countries are richer today and are looking for partnerships with the United States to deliver jobs, roads, and electricity instead of just aid.
“That’s why it’s so important that the administration included a proposal in its budget to create a new development finance institution. Expanding our commitment to development finance promotes deep capital markets, our culture of entrepreneurship, and our belief in free markets while at the same time spurring economic growth in the developing world.
“The White House today has shown its willingness to build markets for American goods in fast-growing emerging markets, support private sector led growth in our strategic allies, and ensure that U.S. companies are competing in these markets with Chinese and European firms—all at less than zero cost to taxpayers. Now, it’s up to Congress to finish the job.”
Foreign aid advocates might be tempted to take heart from the budget deal just struck on Capitol Hill. But the overall shift in the US fiscal position, driven primarily by last year's tax cuts and furthered by this spending agreement, suggests that developing countries will be net losers by orders of magnitude that swamp the entire US foreign assistance budget.
As donors gather next week in Rome to pledge funds to the International Fund for Agriculture Development , they may be wondering where the United States is. Given the generally high marks this independent fund earns for development effectiveness, the uncertainty around a US pledge is troubling. In this “America First” moment, it’s worth asking when it comes to IFAD, what’s in it for the United States and what will be lost if the United States drops out?
One of the biggest questions donors grapple with is how to balance implementing specific projects with building local capacity to execute similar programming in the future. Indeed, this question is central to the conversation—now active at USAID—about how donors can “work themselves out of a job.” One good example of how this can look comes from the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s (MCC) 2005-2010 partnership with Honduras. In this story, a key part of MCC’s legacy is not about what the agency funded but how it funded it.
Marie-Claude Bibeau, Canadian Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, on Canada's new feminist international assistance policy, the need for psychosocial support for refugees, and the links between family planning and development.