U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is “obsessed” with foreign aid procurement — but she isn’t saying yet when she might leave the very post that gives her huge influence over its reform.
Clinton spoke Nov. 27 at the Millennium Challenge Corp. headquarters in Washington, D.C., about the U.S. agency’s model of delivering international assistance and her thoughts on the future of foreign aid.
The secretary of state has said she will be stepping down from her post in coming months, and is in fact rumored to make an announcement in the next few days. Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, remains the front-runner to replace Clinton. This comes even as Rice’s meeting Tuesday with Senate critics has reportedly been contentious.
In her meeting with MCC staff, Clinton highlighted the agency’s successes in helping “those who are willing to help themselves,” and praised the agency for “helping to bring about that strategic shift that we’re making in our development work from aid to investment.” MCC works with countries that are willing to fight corruption, improve taxation and transparency, and foster democracy, she said.
Clinton cited projects in Tanzania, El Salvador, Jordan and Indonesia as examples of how MCC is improving the use of data to maximize the impact of every dollar spent. MCC’s continued focus on value-for-money, the secretary said, will help the agency in upcoming budget talks.
Clinton also spoke about climate change, the most memorable dignitary she’s met on her global travels (Nelson Mandela) and the future of foreign aid as she sees it. Upcoming priorities, according to the secretary, should include the continuation and further acceleration of reforms, and the enhancement of data and other tools to help drive change. She also called for better integration of development activities across the government.
Being “obsessed” with procurement reforms, Clinton said she’d like to gain more insight into potential cost savings. The Obama administration had a “good start” on making U.S. aid more accountable, but has a long way to go still, Clinton argued, adding that the United States should also push its partners to do the same. Without revealing her own plans for the future, Clinton said she’s looking forward to seeing institutionalized what the administration has been advancing under her watch.
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