The Ecosystem of U.S. International Development Assistance: A Development and Foreign Policy Strategic Asset

Series: CSIS Reports
The CSIS Project on Prosperity and Development convened a working group of development implementers, former and current policymakers, and other practitioners to discuss the evolving role of U.S. development under the new USAID Forward agenda and how to achieve aid effectiveness. The working group met three times to discuss local capacity building; results, accountability, and transparency; and development effectiveness. These meetings, combined with extensive interviews, led to the conclusion that the current U.S. ecosystem of international development assistance should be treated as a strategic asset that plays an important role in meeting U.S. national security and foreign policy objectives. This system, while imperfect, delivers a level of accountability and transparency for the U.S. government that is vital to continued political support for foreign assistance. Significant risks are associated with USAID's proposed reforms, which, if fully implemented, may not achieve the results desired. This report's recommendations are designed to help development implementers do more to meet the changing nature of how the U.S. government sees development and the broader trends in the field.