Cutting, Reforming U.S. Foreign Aid Could Make Assistance More Effective, Efficient

Foreign Policy: Savaging State and USAID Budgets Could Do Wonders for Results
Gordon Adams, professor at American University’s School of International Service and distinguished fellow at the Stimson Center, and Richard Sokolsky, senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

“…Budget and political realities under the Trump administration are likely to force State and USAID to live with less [funding]. This may be an opportune moment for these institutions to think about how they carry out their missions, and how they might deliver more effective diplomacy and assistance with fewer resources. This institutional adaptation to fiscal realities should be rooted in a more strategic vision of the relationship among development, security, and governance in U.S. foreign assistance funding. Here are some fundamental reforms Secretary of State Rex Tillerson should consider as his budget shrinks. … [Such reforms fall under d]evelopment assistance … Humanitarian assistance … Security assistance … Governance focus … Organizational recalibration … State and USAID are facing four years of shrinking budgets with their stewardship of foreign aid put under a microscope by the White House and Congress. Implementing these reforms would enable both agencies to make their programs more effective and efficient and to save resources — and might even persuade these skeptics to give the international affairs budget more priority” (3/9).

The Hill: Trump’s suspicion of foreign aid to Africa is right on the money
Al Mariam, professor of political science at California State University, San Bernardino

“…The Trump administration appropriately questions how much of the aid given by the U.S. to Africa is susceptible to corruption, fraud, abuse, and waste in Africa. … African regimes that are heavily dependent on the safety net of foreign aid, receive sustained infusions of multilateral loans and a perpetual supply of humanitarian assistance will behave differently if they were left to their own devices to deal with the consequences of a mismanaged economy, debilitating corruption, and proliferating grinding poverty. But by shifting the moral risk of economic mismanagement, political incompetence, and corruption to the U.S. and other Western donors, and because these donors impose no meaningful penalty or disincentive for poor governance, inefficiency, corruption, and repression, African regimes stay afloat and cling to power for decades abusing the human rights of their citizens and stealing elections. … The Trump administration should provide aid to African regimes only if they meet stringent conditions of accountability and transparency. The era of U.S. foreign policy of aid handouts and alms giving to Africa generously supported by American taxpayers, without strict accountability, must end. The Trump administration’s proposal to reduce foreign aid is a step in the right direction” (3/9).

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