U.S. Foreign Assistance Reform: Food Security and Poverty Reduction

November 1, 2009

In the last few decades, U.S. foreign assistance has largely supported a collection of disparate projects and interventions rather than a coherent, consistent program that is flexible and responsive to conditions in developing countries. As a result, it has not had a transformative impact at the country level.

USAID should once again focus attention on broad-based measures and approaches that will improve agricultural and economic growth rates, and reduce poverty at the national level. This will involve renewed emphasis on agriculture and rural development, women’s participation in the economy, education, infrastructure and capable national institutions and will require a much more deliberate development strategy carried out over a longer time horizon. To plan and implement such a strategy, USAID urgently needs to rebuild its technical capacity, especially in agriculture, rural development and economics that has been allowed to diminish over the past decades.

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