USAID's Rajiv Shah: World Must Rethink Anti-Poverty Strategies

U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Rajiv Shah. Photo by: USAID Afghanistan / CC BY NC-SA USAID AfghanistanCC BY NC-SA

The international community should rethink its strategies for tackling poverty and put more focus on accountability, economic growth and the fight against corruption, a senior U.S. official said.

U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Rajiv Shah is calling for more rigorous accountability standards, emphasis on economic development and aggressive effort to integrate technological and scientific innovation into development work, Reuters reports.

At the U.N. Millennium Development Summit, which kicked off Sept. 22 in New York, the U.S. and other cash-strapped donor countries are expected to focus the debate on securing the best results from anti-poverty initiatives, the news agency adds.

MDGs and the financial crisis

Jonas Gahr Stoere, Norway’s foreign minister, said there were some concerns that donors could use aid money to shore up their struggling economies.

“We need to keep the pressure on the countries to live up to their pledges. There are so many pledges that have not been fulfilled,” Stoere said as quoted by Reuters.

Meanwhile, former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan pointed out that donors and developing countries need to reflect on their commitments and refocus their joint efforts on implementing these promises.

“Certainly the global financial and economic crisis has torn large holes in many state budgets and some governments are finding it difficult to meet their commitments. Other countries have managed nonetheless,” Annan said in an interview with Spiegel Online. “The message has to be that development aid isn’t charity, but a useful and necessary investment in a safer, fairer and ultimately richer world.”

Mixed progress in Africa

Donors should scale up their aid for Africa, a joint report by the U.N. and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said, noting that the continent is facing steeper challenges as a result of the recent global economic crisis.

The report found mixed progress in Africa’s effort to achieve the MDGs, RFI reports.

“For instance, there have been considerable advances in areas such as governance, peace and security, primary education and the reduction of extreme poverty,” the report said as quoted by the news agency. “But enormous challenges remain, including accelerating the rate of progress in bringing clean water and basic sanitation, and reducing the unacceptable levels of maternal and child mortality.”

Devex News – live breaking news coverage of the Millennium Development Goals and the Sept. 20-22 U.N. MDG summit in New York.

About the author

  • 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.