Wednesday, December 10, 2008
USAID has become ineffective because it is underfunded, understaffed, and losing influence. The next president should revive it by either making it autonomous or elevating it to a cabinet-level department...and the first two sentences.
Washington's foreign aid programs have improved in many ways during the Bush presidency. Official development assistance has increased from $10 billion in 2000 to $22 billion in 2008, funding two dozen presidential initiatives, many of them innovative and groundbreaking.But of course it's not enough. One suspects that it isn't the amount of aid that's at issue, it's that USAID has lost influence to the MCC, the Defense Department's and other, more nimble organizations. (Defense, you ask? Yes, our Africa Command is now in the business of opening schools.) As you can guess, there will be jockeying for position in the new Administration.