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The Changing Nature Of Development Aid


Feed the Future is the U.S. Government's global hunger & food security initiative. (Photo: USAID)

Effective development aid is vital to our efforts to build a world that is more stable, more prosperous, and more free.

Every year, the United States spends billions of dollars to assist developing countries. To a large extent, we do this for humanitarian reasons, sending food assistance to disaster areas; upgrading irrigation and other agricultural systems; building schools for rural children so they can use their education to improve their communities.

But we also believe that effective development aid is vital “to our national interests and to our efforts to build a world that is more stable, more prosperous, and more free,” said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The Obama Administration quickly realized that to be effective, development aid must change. So the Administration elevated development as an essential pillar of United States national security alongside defense and diplomacy, and integrated the three. Next, we began to focus on sustainable strategies, and finally, we changed how we spend development funds.

Today, the Obama Administration is using a three-pronged approach to development aid, said Secretary Clinton.

First, we are moving from aid to investment, and we are including the private sector. This can be a catalyst for economic growth and self-sustaining progress.

Second, we believe that development should be country owned, that a nation’s efforts should increasingly be led, implemented, and eventually paid for by its government, communities, civil society, and private sector, said Secretary Clinton:

“We designed our Feed the Future food security initiative and our Global Health Initiative with an emphasis on country ownership and investment. We launched an ambitious reform initiative under Dr. Raj Shah’s leadership, USAID Forward, which among other things focuses on how to identify and bring to scale path-breaking innovations.

And we’re creating groundbreaking renewable energy investment vehicles in Africa through the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. And we’ve launched a range of public-private partnerships through our Global Partnership Initiative.

Our final goal is to put ourselves out of business, said Secretary Clinton. “I look forward to the day when our development assistance will no longer be needed, when it is replaced by strong public institutions and civil societies, when private sector investments and trade are robust in both directions, and people have the chance, through their own hard work, to build better lives for themselves and their families.”
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