In testimony before a foreign relations Senate subcommittee, Todd Moss spoke about the goals and shortcomings of US foreign assistance and outlined three steps to update it for the post-aid world of the 21st century.
While aid—itself no panacea—should and can complement US foreign policy and other national security, economic, political, and humanitarian goals, it does not always do so. Moss notes several successes of aids but calls it in general an “underperformer for American taxpayers, an underperformer in supporting US foreign policy objectives, and an underperformer in meeting global development goals.” The problems, he says, are structural: too many agencies, too many conflicting objectives, and a broken interagency process.
Moss oultines three steps to make foreign assistance work better:
- Limit the number of agencies involved.
- Link the budget process to goals and results—and allow experimentation with new models.
- Consolidate agencies, especially those promoting private-sector development; bolster OPIC into a full-service US Development Finance Corporation.
The United States must engage with emerging markets and regions of the world, and effective and efficient foreign assistance should be part of the effort, Moss says. “US foreign assistance and our other development policy tools must be modernized if we are to succeed, and not be left behind by others who are showing more flexibility and more innovation.”
Read his full testimony here.