Obama Starts to Revamp U.S. Foreign Assistance

    President Barack Obama's administration has already begun to implement sweeping reforms. He has reaffirmed his commitment to closing the Guantanamo Bay prison, is pushing a massive economic stimulus package and has lifted limits on embryonic stem cell research. Obama and his advisers have promised more.

    One change that will directly affect the development community: Obama has scraped a Bush administration's policy that withheld federal aid from organizations that support or provide abortions overseas. He has also vowed to restore funding to the United Nations Population Fund.

    "For too long, international family planning assistance has been used as a political wedge issue, the subject of a back-and-forth debate that has served only to divide us," Obama said in a statement. "I have no desire to continue this stale and fruitless debate."

    More changes that directly affect you, the development community, are no doubt in the pipeline, and Devex is starting a new blog to track news at the U.S. Agency for International Development, Millennium Challenge Corp. as well as the State and Defense departments as the Obama administration charts a new course. We'll be following who's coming and going at State, where the new president's development priorities lie, and how to get in on new international aid projects. Whether you're a contractor, an administrator, a job seeker or someone who simply wants to know more about development, this blog will provide the information you need keep up with the new game in town.

    This new effort begins today. Please let us know what you're interested in, what you'd like to see more of and what you could do without.

    About the author

    • David Francis

      David is a Washington-based journalist and former Devex staffer who spearheaded Devex's "Obama's Foreign Aid Reform" blog. He has written for the Christian Science Monitor, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, SportsIllustrated.com, San Francisco Chronicle, Foreign Policy magazine, and the Washington Monthly. David holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago and a graduate degree from Georgetown University.