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EVENT: Bush Administration’s Legacy on Development

March 15th, 2012
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The Consensus for Development Reform and the

Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network

invite you to a special panel discussion.

The Bush Administration’s Legacy on Global Development:

Lessons for the Next Decade and Beyond

**

Wednesday, March 28th

The Naval Heritage Center – 701 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

11:00 am – 12:30 pm

With opening remarks by:

Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Ranking Member, Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Subcommittee on African Affairs

Featuring:

Ambassador John Danilovich, Former CEO, the Millennium Challenge Corporation

Ambassador Mark Dybul, Distinguished Scholar and Co-Director, Global Health Law Program, O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, Georgetown University; Inaugural Global Health Fellow, The George W. Bush Institute; Former U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator

Gary Edson, Executive Director of the Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund; Former Deputy National Security Advisor, Deputy National Economic Advisor and Deputy Assistant to the President for International Economic Affairs

The Honorable Jim Kolbe, Senior Transatlantic Fellow at the German Marshall Fund; Former Member of Congress and Chairman of the House State/Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee

Moderated by:

Johanna Nesseth Tuttle, Vice-President, Strategic Planning, and Co-Director, Project on U.S. Leadership in Development, CSIS

**

CDR is a platform for leading conservative voices to discuss and develop prescriptions for smart and sustained global development policy reform; MFAN is a coalition of international development and foreign policy practitioners, policy advocates and experts, concerned citizens and private sector organizations that remains committed to maximizing effectiveness and delivering results by modernizing our approach to global development.

RSVP to AMevent@modernizeaid.net

For more information, please contact Sarah Tansey at stansey@modernizeaid.net or 202-688-1089.


Mark Your Calendars — Week of March 19, 2012

March 15th, 2012
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Every Thursday, MFAN will post a list of upcoming events for the following week. For more information about each event and to RSVP, click on the links below. If your organization is hosting an event next week and you don’t see yourself on the list, please email info@modernizeaid.net.

See below for a list of MFAN Partner events:

MFAN is co-hosting an event with the Consensus for Development Reform on Wednesday, March 28 to discuss the Bush Administration’s legacy on global development. Click here to learn more and RSVP!

 

USAID’s Development Credit Authority “Puts Local Wealth to Work”

March 14th, 2012
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This blog post is part of a continuing series exploring how U.S. agencies are promoting economic growth in their development work. The Presidential Policy Directive on Global Development, released in September 2010, set broad-based economic growth as a pillar of sustainable, effective development policy. In the first post, we take a look at USAID’s Development Credit Authority.

USAID’s Development Credit Authority is working to help meet the Presidential Policy Directive on Global Development’s call to provide a new breed of foreign assistance. The PPD emphasizes the importance of emerging markets in driving development–elevating broad-based economic growth as a top priority. Looking past traditional donors and Official Development Assistance, DCA encourages entrepreneurship in developing countries where capital isn’t readily available.

“Missing private capital” can quash emerging businesses in underserved, finance-strapped regions. DCA works with entrepreneurs to attract loans through partial credit guarantees, sharing the risk with local banks that provide start-up capital for credit-worthy borrowers. Rather than providing traditional, U.S.-led aid, DCA places development squarely in the hands of those it seeks to help. DCA taps into local wealth to fund innovative businesses–ranging from water availability and clean energy to housing and microfinance – that foster sustainable development in the community.

The model has shown success from a business and a development standpoint. DCA reports that 98.25% of their borrowers successfully repay their loans–in Ghana, EcoBank continues to lend to seven of the eight sectors initially backed by USAID’s guarantees. DCA has mobilized over $2 billion of credit in 67 countries, and USAID has deployed Field Investment Officers to regional missions to develop alternative financing solutions.

USAID has collected more in bank fees than it has paid out on defaults ($10 million compared to $8.3 million). DCA stretches the agency’s budget for greater impact: “By encouraging local channels of financing, USAID is empowering entrepreneurs in developing countries to improve their lives at a minimal cost to the U.S. taxpayer.”

DCA reached its 100,000th borrower this year. Hear Hannington and Justine’s story below.

USAID Releases Second Annual Letter

March 13th, 2012
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Last week, USAID Administrator Raj Shah released his second annual letter describing the ways in which the agency has elevated development over the past year, with a nod to USAID’s 50th anniversary celebration. The letter focuses on three areas that have framed the agency’s work including seizing pivotal opportunities, embracing challenging roles, and building capacity, not independence.

Regarding opportunities, Shah describes his trip to Kenya in which he visited the largest refugee camp in the world in Dadaab. Using this example, he makes the point that “The development community has to expand its focus from relief to resilience—from responding after emergencies strike to preparing communities in advance.” Aside from the work USAID did, some of it in partnership, to prepare for the severe drought, he also notes the success of the FWD campaign to educate Americans and spark a call to action.

The letter also goes into detail about the value in boosting harvests as a means to fight poverty and in educating young people and expanding access to voluntary family planning to “reap a demographic dividend” and promote economic growth for future generations.

In another plea to the development community, Shah argues the community “must embrace more challenging roles” in light of the growing connection between conflict and poverty—as seen in the Arab Spring—and the entrance of new actors into development practice, such as the private sector. Shah lays out development’s growing role on the frontlines, acknowledging the concern about the militarization of aid, but writing, “…the truth is, the cost of conflict—developmental, economic, human—are simply too high for the development community to ignore.”

Using the expansion of mobile technology as inspiration, Shah then describes USAID’s Grand Challenges for Development, designed to attract innovative solutions to global problems and embrace change.

Lastly, the letter outlines USAID’s vision for sustainable foreign assistance: “Americans can take pride in knowing that the United States is helping people persevere through crisis and overcome poverty, while helping countries build a more peaceful and prosperous future. But they should take comfort in knowing that by building capacity instead of dependence, we not only create lasting progress in developing countries, we help deliver meaningful results for the American people.”

 

DARA Examines Top Donors’ Humanitarian Response

March 12th, 2012
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The urgency demanded by humanitarian disasters often overwhelms a long-term vision, but aid effectiveness and foresight remain key considerations in the provision of aid. DARA, an international organization dedicated to improving aid quality in crisis situations, found in a recent report that the humanitarian sector has made limited progress in implementing reforms and good donor principles. Their 2011 Humanitarian Response Index (HRI), released earlier this month in Geneva, summarizes improvement in the delivery of assistance and assesses persistent challenges in anticipating and preparing for disaster situations.

The HRI evaluates the work of 23 donor countries, including the United States, across nine crises worldwide. Through its research, DARA found that political agendas continue to compromise the delivery of neutral aid and that looming obstacles demand a renewed commitment to aid reform. Much of the concern surrounding humanitarian response is just that: humanitarian agencies are quick to respond to crises, but they rarely devote adequate resources to prediction, prevention, and risk reduction. As broader challenges – climate change, shifting demographics, and economic austerity – become reality, nations will need to embrace non-traditional donors, building local capacity and coordinating with the private sector.

The 2011 HRI focused specifically on gender integration. DARA found that despite continued rhetoric around gender as a cross-cutting issue it “remains more of a political commitment than a practical reality.” Donors enact gender-sensitive policies but seldom make it a priority, failing to analyze cultural and security concerns when implementing programs. We can note progress with the recent release of USAID’s Gender Equality and Female Empowerment Policy and the celebration of International Women’s Day, but humanitarian actors must work to translate their political promises to the field.

The United States ranked 17th in the 2011 HRI, doing well in funding for NGOs and adaptation to changing needs but scoring lower in earmark elimination and funds for prevention and mitigation—especially with regards to climate change. The U.S. is classified as a “Learning Leader”—a donor with a strong field presence and a commitment to evaluation and improvement. Though responses were mixed, field partners reported that the U.S. “is among the most proactive donors in working with partners to implement evaluation recommendations” and that USAID’s OFDA generally integrates gender into its approaches.

DARA calls for increased transparency and accountability from donor governments. Moving forward, actors must improve monitoring and embrace an aid reform agenda that considers prevention and risk reduction for future crises. DARA extends its recommendations to all actors – not just traditional donors – to respond fully to the needs of vulnerable populations.