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What Will Obama Say About Global Development In His State Of The Union Address?

In a Devex commentary, Devex President Raj Kumar speculates about what President Barack Obama might say about global development in his upcoming State of the Union address. “The president has made clear his view that global development is a top national security priority,” he writes, adding, “It seems logical that he would want to make his mark in this area before he leaves the White House.” However, “there’s been no new initiative of the magnitude of PEPFAR or the Millennium Challenge Corp., both launched during the administration of President George W. Bush,” Kumar continues.

Though “[f]or many of us who work in the development field, the most pressing need is a modernized U.S. foreign aid system,” “[t]he president appears poised to continue his first-term approach to foreign aid: make reforms where possible within the limits of existing law, but don’t spend a lot of time trying to move the pieces around the org chart or clean up the alphabet soup of aid agencies,” he says. Instead, “[w]hat Obama may choose to do is use his bully pulpit and his global popularity to advocate for an issue [such as human trafficking] rather than to fund something new,” Kumar writes. Or, Obama could choose “a signature initiative on Africa,” which “would likely not entail new funds,” he says, concluding, “Stay tuned” (1/10).