Obama’s lips cracked.A week before they were injured, his lips and head delved on a new U.S. foreign assistance draft, Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review(QDDR), the document that is meant to chart the long-term strategy for both the State Department and USAID.This new document as to some media and bloggers,might change the whole scenario of US’s foreign aid.This reform touches upon our aid addict Ethiopia too.Might it for us?
“To advance American interests and values and to lead other nations in solving shared problems in the 21st century, we must rely on our diplomats and development experts as the first face of American power. We must lead through civilian power,” states the draft, which is marked NODIS (meaning no distribution) but was obtained by the Washington Post.
Though it would be out of the aim and context of this article,were i doing a discourse analysis , the phrases in the above quotation such as ” solving shared problems” and ” lead through civilian power” would have consumed my deeper splitting and dissection.What are the shared problems of USA today with Africa or my poor , Ethiopia?, What does leading through a civilian power mean? Weren’t ye leading through a civilian power so far(in the development context the least)?
In the light of Human Rights Watch’s continuous recommendations and leverages on the necessity of strict accountability and transparency of aid to Ethiopian government,my expectation ,like many of you, was to see a learnt Obamian aid reform.However, skimming through the draft reform(http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/14727/state-department-diplomacy-and-development-review.pdf) ,i was convinced to opine that the recommendations of HRW have fallen into deaf ears.
”Spearheaded by the State Department, the QDDR began 14 months ago to take stock of U.S. foreign assistance and outline reforms meant to streamline and strengthen the department and USAID’s operations. It underscores the need to build USAID as the “world’s premier development agency,” improve interagency collaboration, achieve “high impact” development results and target conflict prevention,Devex analyses.
The draft QDDR recommends the following reforms in recruitment, contracting and procurement, and planning and budgeting processes within the State Department and USAID.
Using smaller contracts
To enhance the competition for contracts, USAID will make “smaller and more focused awards,” while the State Department will divide large contracts “into discrete units.” They should also promote increased use of local partner country systems.
Expanding USAID and State Department workforce.
To “build and rebalance” USAID’s workforce, the agency should recruit more direct hires and triple midlevel hires in its Development Leadership Initiative from 30 to 95 per year. The government will also create expert-level positions to boost USAID’s pool of highly skilled foreign service nationals.
Targeting “high impact”development through a focus on results.
USAID should launch a new evaluation policy starting in January 2011 and introduce more “outcome-level indicators” to monitor its programs.
Promoting conflict response and prevention as a “core mission.”
In line with the Presidential Policy Directive on Global Development, the draft QDDR calls for investments in sectors where the U.S. has a comparative advantage, including sustainable economic growth, democracy and governance, food security, global health, climate change, humanitarian aid, and women’s welfare. The State Department will lead operations in political and security crises and conflicts, while USAID will spearhead humanitarian efforts in nations ravaged by large-scale natural disasters, famines and disease,good to mark Ethiopia in this case.
Developing a joint State-USAID strategic plan, and creating a unified national security budget.
The joint strategic plan will aid chiefs of mission, or U.S. ambassadors abroad, in putting together integrated country strategies, which will serve as the basis for mission and bureau budget requests.
Reorganizing the State Department and USAID to better coordinate interagency roles and responsibilities and procedures in diplomacy and development efforts.
Two sections that are a bit heavy to frighten aid abusers ,the likes of Meles ,would be sentences that state that the State Department will lead operations in political and security crises and conflicts, while USAID will spearhead humanitarian efforts in nations ravaged by large-scale natural disasters, famines and disease and the reorganization the State Department and USAID.
Nevertheless, with this same state of proposition, QDDR will neither reform the existing top-down aid model or inherent aid abuse prevalent in Ethiopia.State Department sent QDDR to the U.S. Congress on Nov. 17, I wish the Congress deliberates on it and amends it.Some of the amendments could be super scrutiny of aid flow,usage and outcomes and ceasing of direct budgetary to states that are repressive right from this year.In addition to this, the values and merits of project/program and budgetary aids should be well studied to ensure that money is well spent or in a way that enables African governments to break the cycle of dependency.
Let me leave you with Dambisa Moyo’s Dead Aid positions, she broadly categorizes three types of aid: humanitarian or emergency, charity and government-to-government transfers in the form of concessional loans or grants. It is the latter form of aid that she opposes against and I(the lil guy) urge the Congress to reassess too. “Over the past thirty years…the most aid-dependent countries have exhibited an average annual growth rate of minus 0.2 percent. Between 1970 and 1998, when aid flows to Africa were at their peak, the poverty rate in Africa actually rose from 11 percent to a staggering 66 percent” she found out.
So fellas, what is this aid propagative, Aid Reform all for ?