In the last eight years, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) has doubled its budget. While development has been quietly elevated to stand alongside defense and diplomacy as instruments of American power, USAID itself is adrift, argue three former USAID directors, writing in Foreign Affairs.
J. Brian Atwood, M. Peter McPherson, and Andrew Natsios make the case that USAID “has become ineffective because it is underfunded, understaffed, and losing influence.”
“The reduced staff and loss of expertise has limited the agency’s technical competency and its managerial control over projects, making USAID increasingly dependent on larger and larger grants and contracts to spend its budget. This has transformed USAID from a creative, proactive, and technically skilled organization focused on implementation to a contracting and grant-making agency. This, in turn, has translated into less policy coherence, reduced flexibility, diminished leverage with other donors, and an increasingly risk-averse bureaucracy.”
The full article is at Foreign Affairs: Arrested Development – Making Foreign Aid a More Effective Tool
— Jonathan Eyler-Werve