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Posts Tagged ‘results’

U.S. Development Firms Lead by Example

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011
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A Guest Blog Post by Lawrence J. Halloran
Director, PSC International Development Initiative

With all the talk about whether foreign assistance is achieving its intended results, recent success stories demonstrate that economic development remains the strongest foundation for advances in all other sectors, such as health, governance, education and the empowerment of minorities and women. These successful projects show how U.S. development firms lead by example, teaching entrepreneurship and efficiency and creating thriving local businesses.

DevEx recently highlighted the success of a project to reform agriculture in Latin America implemented by TetraTech.  That USAID-funded effort was successful because it brought innovative science and a rigorous evidence-based approach to agricultural development there. And USAID recently highlighted work by AECOM and Nathan Associates on successful projects in post-conflict countries, such as Sri Lanka, that trained indigenous workforces and gave them the skills they need to develop viable local industries to compete and succeed in a global market.

These are just two examples of hundred of development projects underway that showcase how U.S. companies practice the capitalism we preach, often hiring up to ten locals for every U.S. technical expert deployed, and by nurturing budding local risk-takers and business leaders who go on to build more stable, prosperous, healthy communities in their countries.  Development is by nature a long-term process and changing political winds can sometimes prevent short-term progress from taking root.  But successes like these projects prove that USAID-planned, long-term development implemented by U.S. companies continues to unleash unstoppable and sustainable economic activity that is the only sure driver of progress in all other areas.

A Banker’s Perspective on Development: MFAN Partners respond to MCC CEO’s Major Policy Speech

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011
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Last week, MFAN Partner the Center for American Progress teamed up with the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research to host a joint event: The Road to Better Aid: An Emerging Bipartisan Consensus? Daniel Yohannes, CEO of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, gave the keynote address followed by a panel discussion with MFAN Principal John Norris, Executive Director of the Sustainable Security and Peacebuilding Initiative at CAP and Mauro De Lorenzo, Visiting Fellow at AEI. Philip I. Levy, Resident Scholar at AEI moderated the discussion.

Yohannes gave a straightforward speech, making a direct appeal for better use of taxpayer dollars. “I have a client – the U.S. taxpayer.  I have a partner – the countries receiving MCC assistance and the citizens they represent.  And, I have a goal – to get the best return on America’s investment,” he said.

MFAN Partner, the U.S. Guntitledlobal Leadership Coalition, highlighted Yohannes’ remarks on their Global Impact blog, saying “Yohannes drew on his own background as a banker, focusing on the importance of a good return on investment for the U.S. taxpayer. President Obama’s global development policy calls for sustainable economic growth in well-governed partner countries that will enact reforms to ensure government accountability and create favorable business conditions in the private sector. Yohannes said, ‘MCC’s rigorous approach requires that we only invest in those proposals with the strongest potential to reduce poverty and increase incomes.  This enables us to answer the fundamental question of aid effectiveness: Do the expected results from our investment justify the use of scarce aid dollars?’”

Sarah Jane Staats, Director of Policy Outreach at MFAN Partner the Center for Global Development, reviewed Yohannes’ speech last week on their Rethinking Foreign Assistance blog.

“Yohannes, in a departure from speeches I have heard him give before, focused on the MCC’s role in the broader U.S. development policy landscape and the attributes that distinguish the MCC mission and way of doing business. He outlined five development ideas that have broad political support inside and outside the Beltway:

-America’s global leadership should include leadership on development challenges.

-U.S. development should focus on economic growth.

-Accountability and selectivity matter.

-Countries are partners not clients.

-Real results and impact are key, not how much is spent.

He said the Obama administration’s new global development policy is focused on putting these principles into action, and that ‘of course, we have been practicing them at MCC for the last seven years.’”

To read CEO Yohannes speech, titled “Investing in Development: On the Road to Better Aid, MCC is Paving the Way” click here.

The most sexy boring thing you haven’t heard of: USAID’s Implementation & Procurement Reform

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010
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A Guest Post by Porter McConnell, Aid Effectiveness Team, Oxfam America

What if I told you a little-known bureaucratic process called “Implementation and Procurement Reform”, IPR for short, was one of the sexiest victories for poor people in years?  Bear with me as I stick this through the wonk-speak translator:

Implementation /imp-le-men-ta-shun/ n., everything the US Agency for International Development (USAID) does to fight poverty.

Procurement /pro-kür-ment/ n., how USAID gets what it needs to fight poverty.

Reform /re-form/ n., changes to how aid is delivered so poor people get the help they need most.

Put it all together, and you’ve got big changes for how and where USAID does what it does to fight poverty and get people the help they need most. Pretty exciting, right?

You’re probably thinking, yeah yeah, you already told us big changes were coming two weeks ago when President Obama announced the new global development policy. How is IPR news?

It’s taking the concept of country ownership and making it real. In 2005, the US promised along with other countries to deliver the kind of assistance citizens and their governments need, not just what we want to give them. Put simply, we don’t do development, people develop themselves. So the job of donors like the US is to transfer information, capacity, and control to the true agents of change, poor people themselves. Implementation & Procurement Reform is a plan for how the US will help citizens and their governments build their own capacity, instead of setting up our own systems like we used to do.

So, we know it’s a good thing, but how do we know it will happen? This is where it gets really exciting: USAID has set itself concrete short and medium-term targets to get it done. The targets they set for themselves are laser-focused on results, and to fighting global poverty not just in the short-term, but for good.

So to recap, we don’t do development, people develop themselves, and this little-known bureaucratic process called IPR is going to change the way the US helps people around the world develop themselves. And our job as US citizens who care about global poverty is to make sure the US government meets and exceeds their ambitious targets, no matter what special interests get in the way. Any questions?

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“‘Our pockets are empty, but our minds are not’, said our first president. Ownership is about creating the time and space for developing countries to determine what support they need to achieve development. Ownership has to prepare us to stand on our own two feet. We learn by doing.” Tanzanian ambassador to the United States Ombeni Sefue (pictured with Tanzanian students, second from left)