President-elect Trump will come into office at a time when Americans are more dependent than ever on global cooperation. Today we revisit why effective US leadership on development matters and how it can be improved.
What does the collective wisdom of four USAID administrators have to say about the future of the world’s largest development agency? Three former administrators joined current USAID Administrator Gayle Smith at the USAID Alumni Association’s (UAA) annual general meeting to discuss what they wish they had known before they started the job and what advice they would give a new agency lead.
Global development isn't exactly a campaign issue. But we at CGD hope it's a policy area both presidential transition teams are taking very seriously. The next US president will need to confront and prevent crises where our development and humanitarian assistance is a far more useful (and less expensive) response than guns and bombs. To that end, led by Scott Morris, we at the CGD Rethinking US Development Policy program put together a short memo to the transition teams.
The country scorecards that serve as the basis for MCC country eligibility decisions aren’t complete, but the data for the particularly weighty indicators—including the must-pass Control of Corruption hurdle—is now available. I ran the numbers to get a sneak peek at some of the issues the agency and its board will grapple with over the next few months. Some of what emerged from this number crunching is encouraging—most current partner countries surpass MCC’s standards and some interesting new prospects for partnership emerge. More troubling is that two of the countries currently developing compacts—Kosovo and Mongolia—don’t pass the corruption hurdle.
As part of a joint CGD-IRC study group, we have been developing concrete ideas on how to move the global community toward providing refugees and their host communities pathways to self-reliance that can benefit all. Greater attention to education and livelihoods opportunities for refugees is a welcome development, but it is critical to ensure that new financing commitments are not simply funding business-as-usual.
ForeignAssistance.gov is a great idea in theory—a one-stop shop for information about all US foreign assistance spending. In practice, the site has struggled to become a useful and reliable tool due to missing data and poor quality information. But if you look closely, the Department of Defense (DOD), which by some measures is one of the biggest players in US foreign assistance, truly stands out for its reporting gap.
Earlier this month the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 4481, Education for All, a bill that aims to strengthen USAID’s efforts in the realm of education. While the Senate has yet to take up the companion bill, S. 3256, here are a few thoughts on what American aid can and can’t do to improve learning around the world.
At the moment, the issue of US leadership at the multilateral development banks (MDBs) is focused squarely on the World Bank presidency. But there’s a lot more to it than that, and a lot more at risk for the United States in the years ahead. In a new paper for the Council on Foreign Relations, I examine the US role in the MDB system—why it matters for the United States itself, how China has emerged as a game changer, and how the United States is too often its own worst enemy when it comes to effective leadership.