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A Look Back at USAID’s Major Reforms: Policy, Procurement and Budget Reforms

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Earlier, we took a look back at the launch of the US Foreign Assistance Dashboard. Now, in recognition of the significant reforms USAID has already undergone, we turn to more bureaucratic reforms tackled this year. First up is the establishment, or reestablishment, of a Bureau for Policy, Planning and Learning at USAID. Announced in early June, this was one of the first major reforms Shah launched. In a statement, MFAN Co-Chairs David Beckmann and George Ingram said: “The Bureau will restore the ability of USAID’s world-class development professionals to plan and execute innovative, 21st-century programs that deliver better results for the people we are trying to empower and U.S. taxpayers, while also contributing expert input into important national security and foreign policy debates that have major development components.”

Another major reform launched that greatly impacts our development assistance is budget reform. In early September, Shah sent a notice to agency staff alerting them that USAID would be instituting an Office of Budget and Resource Management to be headed by Mike Casella. Shah wrote, “Beginning next year, USAID will have increased responsibility for executing its development and humanitarian assistance budget. For FY 2013 and beyond USAID will develop a comprehensive budget proposal for its development and humanitarian assistance programs, which I will provide to the Secretary and which will be integrated into the joint State/USAID budget review. BRM will work closely with F [the Office of the Director of Foreign Assistance] to coordinate these efforts.”

Lastly, in mid-October, Administrator Shah announced Implementation and Procurement Reform on the heels of President Obama’s speech in New York issuing a new Global Development Policy. As MFAN Partner Oxfam America’s Porter McConnell wrote, procurement reforms are “taking the concept of country ownership and making it real.”

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