Thursday, July 16, 2009

OXFAM responds to President Obama

U.S. President Barack Obama recently called on African leaders to clean up corruption and mis-governance. As a response, OXFAM America is calling on the U. S. government to clean up the way to delivers aid. OXFAM wants more transparency and accountability to the U.S. aid that is handed out to the under-developed world.

We read more about the response from this OXFAM press release.

"Getting to better development assistance will require that donors such as the U.S. keep a close eye on the critical task of building government capacity and institutions directly," said O. Natty B. Davis, II, Reconstruction Minister of Liberia. "This will ensure the efficacy of aid and its ability to deliver results that can have a real impact on the lives of the people in these countries in as short a time as possible."

The panel reflected growing momentum in the foreign aid reform debate in the U.S. Before leaving for Ghana, President Obama was quoted in an interview saying, "Our aid policies have been splintered among a variety of agencies. . .Trying to create something steady [and] basing our policies on what works and not on some ideological previous position -- is going to be very important."

Last Friday, Secretary of State Clinton announced that the State Department and USAID will be undertaking America's first-ever Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), in order to streamline the aid bureaucracy and insert development more coherently into debates over national security and foreign policy. In Congress, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman (D-CA) has introduced the Initiating Foreign Assistance Reform Act of 2009 (H.R. 2139), which has more than 75 bipartisan co-sponsors.

"It is a good sign that the administration and Congress are talking about development in a strategic way," said Paul O'Brien, Director of Aid Effectiveness at Oxfam America and one of today's panelists. "But if new strategies are going to deliver for the world's poor, they must be poverty focused. Effective development isn't about fixing short-term political or security problems -- it is about putting people in charge of their own lives. The best signal the U.S. can send to show it is serious about development is to nominate a USAID Administrator who will help rebuild the agency and bring back its capacity to be a true partner in development."

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