More Hiring Expected at USAID and State Department

The U.S. government may hire as many as 1,000 aid experts and foreign service officers in the coming year, after Congress finally passed a broad 2010 budget bill that includes funding for the State Department, U.S. Agency for International Development and Millennium Challenge Corp.

President Barack Obama had not signed the bill at press time, but was expected to do so.

USAID will receive $1.39 billion to hire 300 additional foreign service officers as part of its Development Leadership Initiative, a program that seeks to enhance USAID's technical, managerial and leadership capacities.

The agency's 2010 budget is up by $300 million from its 2009 allocation.

The budget includes $8.3 billion for the State Department's consular and diplomatic programs, which are poised to hire 700 foreign service personnel in 2010.

The Peace Corps will see a much-anticipated funding increase. Its $400 million budget is up $60 million from the previous fiscal year, as well as $27 million above what the corps actually requested.

For its part, the Millennium Challenge Corp. is set to receive a budget of $1.1 billion to further its mission of finding sustainable solutions to poverty in some of the world's poorest countries. Daniel Yohannes, MCC's new chief executive officer, welcomed the approved budget, which is 26 percent more than the organization's 2009 budget.

According to a bill summary, $7.8 billion will be allotted to global health and child survival initiatives, including improvements in global health surveillance and aid delivery. A total of $2.5 billion will go toward initiatives in agricultural development, microfinance, governance and democracy, education and climate change.

The U.S. fiscal year starts in October. Several government departments have been operating on continuing resolutions that have basically extended 2009 funding.

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    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.