US Development Policy

CGD experts track US development policy and offer ideas and analysis to improve its impact on developing countries. Also check out our Views from the Center blog and Global Health Policy blog.

 

Building on the Momentum: Focusing on Adolescent Girls through MCC Country Scorecards

In CGD’s last blog post on the new strategy, we commended the US government for leading the charge for adolescent girls—by issuing the first-ever country strategy specifically focused on the demographic. But how do we make sure that this articulated commitment continues to get translated into concrete action? What can MCC specifically contribute? One opportunity may lie in MCC’s country scorecards.

Senate Committee Examines US Economic Assistance, Asks How to Get It Right

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee recently took an interest in one key form of foreign aid—US economic assistance—convening a hearing to investigate the topic. We had high hopes going in and were pleased to hear all three of the hearing’s witnesses—Jeffrey Herbst, Alicia Phillips Mandaville, and CGD’s Todd Moss—champion the use of rigorous analysis, evaluation, and selectivity in aid to promote economic opportunity in developing countries.

Making the Most of the White House Global Development Summit

White House summits, which in recent years have addressed everything from African American LGBTQ Youth to Working Families, serve two main purposes: to make progress on a set of policy issues and to signal that the issues are a priority for the president. In this way, it’s encouraging to see the newly announced White House Summit on Global Development. More than a late term victory lap for President Obama’s global development policies and programs, I’m hopeful that this summit promotes approaches to development that will carry over into the next administration.

Congress Did Something! For Developing Countries!!

The clock is ticking on the 114th Congress, and as we inch closer to November 8, the odds of meaningful legislative action seem likely to dwindle further. It is heartening, then, that the House of Representatives joined the Senate last week and passed the Global Food Security Act. The legislation authorizes President Obama's Feed the Future initiative, which aims to increase incomes and improve nutrition among the rural poor in 19 focus countries.

Senate Panel Sets Sights on Economic Impact of US Aid

With election-year events crowding out the legislative calendar, there’s only so many more opportunities for the Senate to show its commitment to development and its interest in improving US development policy. Legislators still have a week and a half in town, and we were encouraged to see the Senate Foreign Relations Committee fit in an important hearing on the role of US foreign aid in spurring economic growth.

The Senate’s Ideas for MCC: All Good in Theory, One Questionable in Practice

The FY17 State and Foreign Operations spending bill brought good news for the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) with big implications for its operations. New authority to engage in concurrent compacts in a single country would enable MCC to operate on a regional level, and provisions adjusting the criteria MCC uses to select partner countries could influence where MCC works. These are reasonable (even good!) ideas in theory, but the proposed eligibility requirement gives me some pause and could be challenging to apply in practice.

Getting to 1504 in 2016: Long-Awaited Progress on Extractive Industry Transparency

At long last, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has published the rule requiring extractive industry investors—oil, gas, and mining companies—to publish all payments of $100,000 or more that they make to governments as part of their operations. Great congratulations are in order to all those, including Oxfam and Publish What You Pay, who have worked so hard to get this rule published!

Country Ownership in El Salvador: USAID and Local Solutions

“If we don’t take a risk, we won’t reap the rewards.” We heard this refrain from a USAID official working in El Salvador to advance USAID’s agenda to promote greater country ownership by cultivating public-private partnerships with local actors. Partnering directly with local entities can pose potential risks to USAID, but in El Salvador the decision to increase local implementation has proved pragmatic and beneficial, as it capitalized on local knowledge and the local private sector.

Inspiring Words for Aspiring Young Development Workers

On May 19, USAID Administrator Gayle Smith achieved that rare feat of a truly inspirational graduation speech, drawing on her experiences as a journalist, human rights activist, and senior government official to call graduates of the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University to public service.

Is OPIC Focused on the Private Sector’s Biggest Constraints?

In an ideal world, development finance institutions (DFIs) should focus on the biggest constraints for businesses in developing countries. This helps to expand their impact beyond a single project or investment, thereby producing more systemic benefits. However, this is a particularly challenging issue for many DFIs given their operating models, which are typically driven by investor priorities.

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