Rajiv Shah discusses USAID budget priorities for 2013

U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Rajiv Shah. Photo by: U.S. Embassy Kabul Afghanistan / CC BY-ND

The top U.S. aid official testified on Capitol Hill on March 6 to, hopefully, convince budget-conscious U.S lawmakers to approve President Barack Obama’s fiscal 2013 funding request for the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Appearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Appropriations subcommittee on state and foreign operations, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah unsurprisingly focused on ongoing USAID reform efforts and how the agency’s efforts are smart investments of U.S. taxpayers’ money.

One particular request Shah highlighted is for the Working Capital Fund. This fund, he told lawmakers, is key to achieving efficiency at USAID through improved procurement planning, more cost-effective awards, and better oversight of contracts and grants.

Shah also identified some of the trade-offs USAID is set to make in fiscal 2013. USAID has eliminated global health programs in Peru and Mexico, he said. The agency will also close down Feed the Future programs in Ukraine, Serbia and Kosovo in 2013. Aid for similar programs in Europe, Eurasia and Central Asia, meanwhile, will be reduced by $113 million.

In addition, USAID will keep its staffing and administrative expenses at “current levels” even as the agency continues with its major reform effort. As Devex has reported, U.S. President Barack Obama’s fiscal 2013 budget request does not include funding for the USAID’s Development Leadership Initiative.

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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.