As the U.S. State Department celebrated World Foreign Affairs Day Friday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton set out an ambitious goal: to turn the U.S. into the most innovative and effective provider of development assistance.
Clinton echoed comments made earlier in the week by U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Rajiv Shah.
“I think that USAID should not only be the premier development agency in the world again, but it should be the premier development research agency in the world,” she said May 7 in Washington. “There are a lot of game-changing technologies that the United States can help develop and then to spread and implement. We’re pursuing funding mechanisms that encourage private companies to develop products and services for the poor.”
Clinton praised the Millennium Challenge Corp.’s “innovative” approach to delivering foreign aid, and noted the USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah’s background in “accountability measurements and metrics.” She noted that budget constraints required the U.S. to focus on key priorities
The U.S. would focus on two key development challenges, Clinton said: Global health, through the Global Health Initiative, and food security, through the Feed the Future initiative. The comments echoed a White House draft document leaked last week that outlined U.S. foreign assistance reform ideas.
Clinton also plugged a program dubbed WAE (“When Actually Employed”), which enables U.S. foreign and civil service retirees to continue serving without sacrificing annuities.
“Our coordinator for reconstruction and stabilization, Ambassador John Herbst, is looking for WAEs, W-A-E-s, who are willing to deploy on short notice to work on critical conflict prevention and post-conflict stabilization missions,” Clinton said. “WAEs can join the Civilian Response Corps as standby members and receive specialized training that will help them apply their skills and experience working alongside our full-time active members.”