The many dimensions of what’s at stake in U.S. foreign aid spending are explored in two crisply edited, new episodes of the prize-winning podcast, The Brookings Cafeteria.
In Part 1, Madeleine Albright, Richard Blum, Stephen Hadley, Brookings’ George Ingram and other experts weigh in with analysis and commentary.
It’s an excellent 50-minute primer, ranging from origins of U.S. foreign assistance after World War II to pivotal questions Congress budget makers must answer in coming weeks. Questions on issues such as the role of U.S. leadership in the world, concerns over fragile states and whether it makes sense for 25 different government agencies to have a hand in making U.S. foreign aid policy.
Why does foreign aid spending benefit Americans? How much is appropriate in the next federal budget?
Budget makers in Congress and the White House continue to wrestle with these questions. Five weeks ago they pushed the deadline for answers to December 8 from September 30, the official end of the 2017 fiscal calendar. If lawmakers and the administration can’t reach agreement by December 8, they will be forced to consider another continuing resolution to avoid a government shutdown.
Threading aid into the chaos of war or collapse of social order is one of most dangerous, and crucial, challenges of our time. There are 65 million refugees in the world today – the most since World War II.
Fragile states such as Syria, Yemen, South Sudan and Afghanistan (farmland, pictured above) are notoriously vexing, yet aid organizations continue to support millions of the displaced, who are mostly women and children. In each case, America’s security interests hang in the balance. In each case, soft power matters.
Momentum, and urgency, continue to build for bringing together a wide range of expertise and sources of capital to fight poverty. It’s an exciting area of progress for global development and business investing in the next decade.
We heard this repeatedly from experts at the Brookings Blum Roundtable in August, and again last month during the United Nations General Assembly. Many are exploring how the U.S. can best respond to new geopolitical realities, and how the private sector can apply the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals through impact investing in fast-growing emerging economies.
The United States spends by far the most money on humanitarian aid of any country. Last week, more than $800 million in additional aid to Africa and the Middle East was pledged by the U.S. Agency for International Development, with nearly $600 million for famine relief in Yemen, South Sudan, Nigeria and Somalia.
Yet Americans need to keep in mind that, as Washington Post diplomatic correspondent Carol Morello reported, our commitment as a percentage of GDP is roughly the same as Portugal and Japan, “while many European countries like Sweden, Switzerland and Luxembourg are far more generous.”
It was alarming last May when the White House proposed slashing budgets for the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development by nearly 30 percent in the 2018 fiscal year starting October 1.
Those draconian cuts aren’t likely to happen, but we won’t know the outcome for at least another three months. In a surprise, President Trump and Congressional leaders agreed September 6 to fund the government at current levels through mid-December, setting up a new round of high-stakes, year-end budget talks.
In his best-selling Hillbilly Elegy, author J.D. Vance opens a window into the widening opioid crisis churning across America. “Drugs have come in,” his second cousin, Rick, says when Vance drops by for a visit in Jackson, Kentucky. “And nobody’s interested in holding down a job.”
A top expert on the U.S. labor force, Alan B. Krueger, has written a new analysis studded with insights that closely link the two national challenges suggested by cousin Rick – soaring opioid* use and declining numbers of working-age men and women with jobs.
With a three-day weekend and the unofficial end of summer looming, maybe you’re looking for a good movie or two if you have time to kick back for a few hours.
We recently came across a spectacular 3D IMAX feature, National Parks Adventure, and a brutal Netflix drama, Beasts of No Nation, that take you to opposite emotional extremes… and deliver deeper understanding and appreciation of their subjects.
This is the second of two posts adapted from remarks by Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on technology’s value in advancing global development. She spoke recently at the Aspen Institute in collaboration with the annual Brookings Blum Roundtable on Global Poverty.
Chair of Geneva-based Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala describes three more cases of how the fight against poverty is sparking technology innovation.
We’re delighted to share this week important insights from Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on technology’s value in advancing global development.
Dr. Okonjo-Iweala, chair of GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, is one of the great champions for improving lives of the poor. Twice Nigeria’s finance minister, a former managing director and one of three candidates in 2012 for the presidency of the World Bank, she is a development economist and author with more than thirty years of courageous leadership in fighting poverty.