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International Development Forum Addresses U.S. Foreign Aid Reform

USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah and Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-Va.) discussed the need for a new foreign aid strategy and vision at an international development forum, hosted by InterAction on Wednesday, Congressional Quarterly reports.

Shah and Connolly “agreed that Congress has an important role to play in that overhaul, particularly when it comes to rewriting the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act,” according to the publication.  

“Our time and our opportunity to frame what development should be about for the next 50 years … is right now,” Shah said. “I believe the next 12 to 18 months is a unique moment in time. I don’t think the window will last much longer than that,” he added. According to CQ, “Shah laid out a robust ‘reform agenda’ in his remarks, including the formal creation this week of a new bureau of policy, planning and learning within the agency to encourage strategic thinking about providing aid.”

Connolly, who sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the “world has changed a lot” since 1961 when the Foreign Assistance Act was written. He said Congress has a chance to “restate and create a new vision.” He also spoke about the fragmentation of foreign aid among different government offices. “We have to have one voice when it comes to international development issues and that one voice needs to be AID,” he said (Cadei, 6/2).