CGD: US Needs Revamped Development Approach in Pakistan

A Pakistani woman earns up to 5,000 rupees a month for stitching garments with the sewing machine provided by the U.S. Agency for International Development. Photo by: USAID

The United States needs to substantially revamp its development strategy in Pakistan, starting with shifting its focus from security to trade and investments in the Asian country, according to a new report from the U.S.-based think tank, the Center for Global Development.

“The United States is way off course in Pakistan,” CGD President Nancy Birdsall, also the main author of the report, says in a news release. “It’s heavily focused on security while neglecting low-cost, low-risk investments in jobs, growth, and the long haul of democracy building.”

A new and more effective U.S. strategy in Pakistan should include more incentives for investments, such as new credit programs and risk insurance schemes for local small and medium-sized enterprises, and measures that will boost trade between the United States and Pakistan, the report suggests.

The CDG report outlines five procedural recommendations on how the United States can put its development program in Pakistan on track:

- Clarify the development mission by separating the Pakistan aid program from the strategy on Afghanistan and from the Pakistan security initiative.- Appoint a single person who will be in charge of the development program from Washington and Islamabad. - Regularly publish updated and detailed data on U.S. aid programs in Pakistan. - Increase the number and improve the capacity of staff members of the U.S. Agency for International Development mission office in Pakistan. - Track the results of U.S. aid projects as well as Pakistan’s overall development progress.

The report also names ways the U.S. can better deploy its aid resources in Pakistan, including adopting a cash-on-delivery approach and cofinancing established education programs.

Read more of Think Development: Think tanks in review, a Devex blog chronicling news and views from the international think tank community.

About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.