Development Beyond Aid: Remaking U.S. Development Policy for a Changed World
About This Event

President-elect Barack Obama has pledged to double U.S. foreign aid, and Representative Howard Berman (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, has stated that foreign aid reform will be on the agenda of the 111th Congress. Yet the field of development has changed significantly over the past decade, Listen to Audio


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with the creation of novel assistance programs like the Millennium Challenge Corporation and the emergence of entrepreneurial philanthropists. These new players are bringing market-based solutions to longstanding development challenges and transforming the approaches of donor agencies and developing-country governments.

How should foreign aid advance American purpose in the developing world, and can reform efforts bolster the U.S. foreign policy troika of defense, diplomacy, and development? Indeed, the difficulties of economic recovery in Afghanistan and Iraq illustrate the need for a more effective development policy to support core national security priorities. Could a development policy that looks beyond aid transform America’s relationships in the developing world while accelerating the fight against global poverty? Join us as distinguished participants discuss these and other important issues in a series of uniquely structured forums.

For video and audio of the second day of this event please click here.

Agenda

Tuesday, January 6

8:30 a.m.
Registration and Breakfast
9:00
Discussion: Foreign Aid Reform

In this discussion, experts from AEI and the Center for Global Development will discuss what is wrong with the U.S. foreign aid system and how it should be reformed, focusing on some of the proposals put forward recently by a number of independent commissions, including the HELP Commission and the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network.

Discussants:
Jonathan Greenblatt, University of California Los Angeles
Steven Radelet, Center for Global Development
10:15
Panel:
International Trade and Finance

Advocates of market-based approaches to poverty reduction often invoke the slogan "trade, not aid." How viable is this alternative under the current international trade regime? What obstacles to trade-based growth in poor countries would remain if trade barriers were removed? Why do developing countries sometimes seem to adopt negotiating positions at odds with their national interests? How could the United States better integrate its trade and development policies, notably through trade capacity-building assistance, to promote better outcomes in global trade negotiations?

Panelists:
Lado Gurgenidze, former prime minister of Georgia
Aubrey Hruby, Whitaker Group

Alan Larson, Covington & Burling
Mary Ryckman, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative

Moderator:
11:30

Luncheon

12:00 p.m.
Discussion:
Making the Private Sector Work in Africa

There is growing consensus in Africa that private enterprise is the engine of truly sustainable development. In this session, experts will discuss four key strategies for stimulating Africa’s private sector—investing in infrastructure, facilitating trade, reforming the business climate, and developing enterprise—and how U.S. development policy could better promote them.

Opening Remarks: John McArthur, Millennium Promise
12:30
Conversation I: Michael Fairbanks, S.E.VEN Fund
Lado Gurgenidze, former prime minister of Georgia
Aubrey Hruby, Whitaker Group
Emeka Okafor, TED
Moderator:
Mauro De Lorenzo, AEI
1:45
Coffee Break
2:00
Conversation II:
Jeri Jensen, Millennium Challenge Corporation
Vijay Mahajan, University of Texas at Austin
John McArthur, Millennium Promise
Vijaya Ramachandran, Center for Global Development
Éliane Ubalijoro, McGill University
Moderator: Mauro De Lorenzo, AEI
3:15
Adjournment and Reception

Wednesday, January 7

8:30 a.m.
Registration and Breakfast
9:00
Panel:
Global Health: Is PEPFAR Sustainable?

The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), a capstone of U.S. global health policy, has won bipartisan praise as one of President George W. Bush’s most successful programs for the developing world. In addition to providing treatment for more than 2 million HIV/AIDS patients and preventative education for millions more, it has generated significant diplomatic benefits for the United States. Yet the program carries a $50 billion price tag. Is PEPFAR sustainable, and how effective is the current allocation of funds? Mark Dybul, the U.S. global AIDS coordinator, will deliver a keynote address.

Keynote Address:
Mark Dybul, U.S. State Department
Panelists:
Mead Over, Center for Global Development

Richard Tren, Africa Fighting Malaria

Moderator:

Roger Bate, AEI

10:30
Roundtable Discussion:
Entrepreneurial Philanthropy

In 2006, American individuals and organizations gave more than $34 billion in private philanthropy to the developing world—$10 billion more than official development aid. An increasing number of development practitioners are focusing on strengthening entrepreneurial approaches to development. In this session, an accomplished group of experts, practitioners, and donors will discuss and debate the role of this growing form of aid and what it means for the United States.

Opening Remarks:
Michael Fairbanks, S.E.VEN Fund
Discussants:
Carol Adelman, Hudson Institute
William Inboden, Legatum Institute
John Orrison, BNSF Railway
Kim Tan, SpringHill Management
Moderator:
Arthur C. Brooks, AEI
12:00 p.m.
Luncheon
12:30
Exercise:
Security and Development

The global "Long War" against terror increasingly blurs the line between military and economic action. American success in volatile regions across the developing world depends not only on alleviating tensions but also on preventing them. But U.S. military and economic presence abroad has all too often been plagued by bureaucratic infighting and poor interagency coordination. An alternative strategy is to devolve more power to on-the-ground "country teams," led by chiefs-of-mission who oversee U.S. military, diplomatic, and economic actions in-country. In this public exercise, AEI’s Thomas Donnelly and a team of military, diplomatic, and economic experts will simulate the decision-making process of a U.S. country team in Nigeria—exhibiting how a threat can be diffused before it becomes a crisis.

Participants:
Lawrence Crandall, U.S. Foreign Service (Retired)
Mauro De Lorenzo, AEI
Jamelle McCampbell, U.S. Department of Defense
Samantha Ravich, National Strategy Information Center
Colonel Robert Killebrew, U.S. Army (Retired)
Paul Wolfowitz, AEI
Moderator:
Thomas Donnelly, AEI
2:00
Adjournment
Event Summary

 

U.S. Foreign Aid Needs to Focus on Private-Sector and Entrepreneurial Development

 

 

WASHINGTON, JANUARY 13, 2009--While the United States leads the world in foreign assistance, it has had difficulty meeting the development challenges of the twenty-first century with a bureaucracy stuck in the twentieth. "There is no question that the United States does not provide aid well," Steven Radelet, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, noted at an an AEI symposium convened by Mauro De Lorenzo on January 6-7. Other experts at the symposium discussed the changing role and significance of U.S. foreign assistance, and they agreed that if and when the Obama administration embarks on an ambitious effort to reform the American foreign aid system, it will face daunting challenges. As Carol Adelman of the Hudson Institute remarked, "this is no longer your parents' foreign aid."

In the past decade, private donors and entrepreneurial philanthropists have played a growing role in American engagement abroad, and donor agencies like the Millennium Challenge Corporation have transformed the way aid is allocated and spent, focusing more on private sector development and local initiatives. Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of Good magazine, noted that there is significant "energy and desire to move forward in the [developing world's] private sector." The United States, he said, can take advantage of "the power of leverage to put one dollar in and get ten dollars out."

Panelists elaborated on the issues in a series of topical discussions. Speakers at the trade and development forum stressed the importance of "coherence" in U.S. policy toward the developing world. The United States has tended to treat development as separate from its strategic economic and foreign policy goals. But "development cannot be approached [in] a boutique frame of mind," said Alan Larson of Covington and Burling. Infrastructure, public-private partnerships, and trade policies are equally as significant in fighting poverty and promoting economic growth as humanitarian assistance and food aid.

In a roundtable session on making the private sector work in Africa, a consensus emerged that Africa should be recognized not only for its development difficulties but also for its entrepreneurial ambition. Emeka Okafor, a noted blogger and the organizer of TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design), reminded participants that "we tend to ignore examples [of entrepreneurship] on the ground." Aubrey Hruby of the Whitaker Group addressed the geopolitical dangers of failing to help Africa meet its development needs. She warned that "if we do not take advantage of the opportunities in Africa, China or Brazil will."

But Africa must bring under control its manifold health and security problems before it can unleash the full capacity of its entrepreneurial spirit. In a panel on global health, Mark Dybul, U.S. global AIDS coordinator, reminded the audience of the corrosive impact of HIV/AIDS. "[This] one disease brought down life expectancy in Botswana by three decades," he said. Sustaining programs like the $15 billion President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief are "in our self-interest."

Furthermore, the urgency of the global war on terrorism demands a development policy that complements America's national security strategy. In an exercise on development and security, participants presented the "country team" model of U.S. engagement abroad, in which more decision-making power is devolved to the in-country ambassador and his diplomatic, military, and economic counterparts. AEI fellows Thomas Donnelly and Christopher Griffin developed a country team proposal in a 2008 report. "We need to make an argument for this model," said Samantha Ravich of the National Strategy Information Center. "We can't make all the necessary decisions from Washington."

Participants at the symposium agreed that the developing world has changed significantly since many of our existing development policies were first designed. Tailoring the next generation of policies for new global realities will be a significant challenge for the Obama administration. In today's world, advancing American purpose in the world means not only assuring security and promoting economic growth but also leading the fight against global poverty.

AEI's extensive work on international development includes a project led by De Lorenzo on creating environments in developing countries more friendly to businesses and entrepreneurs. He is the editor of AEI's Development Policy Outlook series. In the latest issue, Adelman and Nicholas Eberstadt propose ways to bring the U.S. foreign aid infrastructure up to date.

--APOORVA SHAH

For video, audio, and more event information, visit www.aei.org/event1857/.

For media inquiries, contact Veronique Rodman at 202.862.4870 or [email protected].

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