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The Case for Foreign Assistance — Gates Foundation’s Mark Suzman and CGD Experts

How do you make the case for US foreign aid to an Administration that has proposed slashing it? That was the task for Mark Suzman, Chief Strategy Officer and president of Global Policy and Advocacy for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, when he recently accompanied Bill Gates to meetings at the White House. In this week's CGD podcast, Suzman gives us two very different versions of the fight against global poverty and disease—the perception and the reality. At an event called Financing the Futurehe joined CGD experts Masood Ahmed, Amanda Glassman, and Antoinette Sayeh to discuss ways the development community can better convey their results. 

Key Destinations of Foreign Assistance, 2000-2015

Key Destinations of Foreign Assistance, 2000-2015

Increases in foreign aid spending—including both military and economic assistance—are not merely a phenomenon of the past eight years. Foreign aid spending increased under the administrations of both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, largely due to increases in funding to Afghanistan and Iraq. Beyond these three areas, growth in foreign aid spending has been relatively modest.

International Affairs Subfunctions as a Percentage of Total Outlays, 2000-2015

It only takes a quick look at the numbers to see that if your chief goal is to bolster defense spending—as President Trump has suggested his is—even deep cuts to foreign aid programs will be of little help. Together, the cuts proposed to the State Department and USAID amount to less than 3 percent of the defense budget.

What Do the Trump Administration's Budget Cuts Mean—and What Do They Mask? – Scott Morris and Amanda Glassman

The headline figure revealed in the "skinny budget" was 28.4 percent cuts to the State Department, USAID, and international programs. When other areas of spending directly relevant to development are considered, the actual level of cuts is over 30 percent. What do these cuts mean for the people most affected and for America’s role as a global development leader? CGD’s Scott Morris and Amanda Glassman weigh in.