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Archive for March, 2010

QDDR Blog Series: MFAN Principal Jennifer Potter on the Role of the Private Sector & Trade

Friday, March 26th, 2010
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The sixth installment in MFAN’s QDDR blog series comes from MFAN Principal Jennifer Potter, president & CEO of the Initiative for Global Development.  To see other posts in the series, click on the following names – George IngramNoam Unger, David BeckmannRitu Sharma & Nora O’Connell, Ray Offenheiser.

Jennifer PotterInitiative for Global Development

“Applying Business Principles to Development:  Invest for Success”

By Jennifer Potter

Most U.S. companies, regardless of their size, view themselves as players in a global system. Whether they are selling products and services in the international marketplace or sourcing their inputs from overseas, companies today are far more engaged globally now than ever before. U.S. business has a core interest in the economic health of the rest of the world. Increasingly, this includes the economic development of people in poor countries, and one of the best ways to boost growth and expand opportunity around the world is to improve the impact of U.S. foreign assistance.


Join a Global Conversation

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010
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Global Pulse 2010

On Monday, March 29th the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), in partnership with other government agencies, will launch Global Pulse 2010 — a new online initiative that will connect people from around the world to discuss important issues and challenges relating to development, security, and global prosperity.  The live discussion will feature government officials, private sector leaders, and voices from civil society who will guide conversation and encourage participation among concerned citizens who join.  The themes of the inaugural 3-day virtual event include: science and technology, economic opportunity, and human development.  USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah commented in a statement:

“We want to hear from individuals who are not normally seated at the table with key decision makers. To meet our collective challenges, we must take advantage of new technologies that allow us to engage in dialogue with individuals and communities from around the globe.”

The ultimate goal is to not only discuss the challenges the world faces, but to think of creative solutions.  We encourage everyone to join in on the conversation.

For more information on how to register, visit

CAP Hosts Chairman Berman, MFAN Principal McPherson for Development Discussion

Monday, March 22nd, 2010
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Berman at CAP

Last Thursday, the Center for American Progress (CAP) hosted House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman (D-CA) and a group of experts as part of the Center’s Sustainable Security series.  Berman headlined the event titled, “U.S. Global Development Policy in the 21st Century: Implications for Reform.” Just last year, Berman was leading the reform charge on the Hill by introducing the Initiating Foreign Assistance Reform Act (H.R.2139) alongside Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL).  The bill, which calls for a National Strategy for Global Development, now has 125 bipartisan cosponsors. Since then, Berman has begun the process of rewriting the outdated Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 – set to be released in the coming months.  MFAN Principal Peter McPherson, former Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), sat on a panel alongside:  John Norris, Executive Director, Enough; Eli Adashi, Former Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences and the Frank L. Day Professor of Biology, Brown University; and Ambassador Wendy Chamberlin, President, Middle East Institute.  See excerpts from Berman’s keynote speech and Peter McPherson’s remarks after the jump:


QDDR Blog Series: MFAN Principal Ray Offenheiser on Country Ownership

Monday, March 22nd, 2010
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The fifth installment in MFAN’s QDDR blog series comes from MFAN Principal Ray Offenheiser, president of Oxfam America.  To see other posts in the series, click on the following names – George IngramNoam Unger, David Beckmann, Ritu Sharma & Nora O’Connell.

Ray Offenheiser 1Oxfam

The PSD & QDDR: What’s in it for poor countries?

by Raymond C. Offenheiser

President Obama and his administration have emphasized the need for U.S. development policy and practice to support “country ownership”—the idea that poor countries and their people need to lead their own development.  As Secretary Clinton has said, “In Africa and elsewhere, we seek more agile, effective, and creative partnerships. We will focus on country-driven solutions that give responsible governments more information, capacity, and control as they tailor strategies to meet their needs.”  So how can the PSD and the QDDR interim report suggest ways to better transfer information, capacity and control to recipients?


Noteworthy News – 3.19

Friday, March 19th, 2010
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This weekly posting includes key news stories and opinion pieces related to foreign assistance reform and the larger development community.

  • Haiti’s Do-It-Yourself Recovery (The New York Times-Lawrence Downes, March 15) There is a new group of Haitians in Port-au-Prince that calls itself the Civil Society Watchdog Group ( They did their own survey of nine refugee settlements and issued a report on March 8 citing troubling lapses in security, sanitation and water distribution. Their big concern is the hundreds of millions of dollars outside groups are raising and spending on behalf of Haitians. They want transparency and accountability. They want groups to put the money trail online. I hope their plea is not ignored.
  • Worst in Aid: the Grand Prize (Aid Watch-William Easterly & Laura Freschi, March 15) But it’s too late. Sacrificing long term development aims for short term military and diplomatic objectives is what the US already does, and the 3Ds is making it worse. That’s why the Grand Prize for the Worst in Aid goes to…the 3D approach, nominated by an anonymous reader.
  • U.S Aid for Foreign Development Crucial to our Future (Miami Herald-Will Bennett, March 16) Having served in the combat zone, I have seen firsthand the importance of foreign aid to our national security. I have seen how relatively small investments now can pay huge dividends down the road and save us money in the long run by helping avoid future conflict. U.S. development efforts that are saving lives, building opportunity and adding to our security should not be cut. They need to be maintained and strengthened.
  • The ‘Mullen Doctrine’ Takes Shape (Washington Independent-Spencer Ackerman, March 16) Mullen’s major proposal is that the military should be deployed for future counterinsurgencies or other unconventional conflicts “only if and when the other instruments of national power are ready to engage as well,” such as governance advisers, development experts, and other civilians. “We ought to make it a precondition of committing our troops,” Mullen said, warning that “we aren’t moving fast enough” to strengthen the institutional capacity of the State Department and USAID in order to lift the greatest burdens of national security off the shoulders of the military.
  • MFAN-related: Our Money in Pakistan ( Traub, March 17) The AfPak strategy constitutes a recognition that U.S. national security now depends upon producing internal change in states — the kind of change development assistance (as opposed to, say, regime change) is designed to bring about. The Pakistan policy requires no such short-term miracle; indeed, the five-year time frame of Kerry-Lugar-Berman is meant to signal to Pakistanis that the U.S. commitment will not be episodic, as it has been in the past.  The money will start flowing in the next few months, and when it does, it will look very different from the aid program of recent years.
  • Crumbs from the BRICs-man’s table (The Economist, March 18) But a new study* by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), a British think-tank, says the emerging countries (such as the BRICs) increasingly affect the growth prospects of poorer ones. In other words, after decades of talk about the importance of “south-south” ties, those links have finally started to mean something.