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Development To Be ‘Central Pillar’ Of U.S. Foreign Policy, Clinton Says

In a speech on Wednesday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said that it is time to “elevate development as a central pillar of all that we do in our foreign policy,” United Press International reports (1/6). According to Reuters, “U.S. security depends on a new approach to international aid, so Washington must consult more and dictate less as it dispenses billions of dollars in assistance, … Clinton said.”

The news service also reports that she “left no doubt on Wednesday that international assistance – and a new, higher profile for USAID under newly appointed administrator Rajiv Shah – would be central to Washington’s new approach.” She listed agriculture and health among other “key areas” on which the U.S. will focus its efforts (Quinn, 1/6).

Clinton said she plans to build up USAID, minimize its use of contractors and give the agency more responsibilities, Foreign Policy’s blog, “The Cable,” reports. “For too long, we’ve relied on contractors for core contributions and diminished our own professional and institutional capacities. This must be fixed,” she said. The U.S. will “leverage the expertise of our diplomats and military on behalf of development, and vice versa. The three Ds (defense, diplomacy, development) must be mutually reinforcing,” said Clinton, “The Cable” writes (Rogin, 1/6). 

According to Clinton, the Obama administration will work together with countries that receive U.S. foreign aid, the Washington Times reports. “We are adopting a model of development based on partnership, not patronage,” she said. “In the past, we have sometimes dictated solutions from afar, often missing our mark on the ground. Our new approach is to work in partnership with the people in developing countries.” In addition, Clinton said U.S. foreign aid will be given out based on strict political and financial standards, according to the Washington Times (Kralev, 1/7).

Inter Press Service reports that Clinton discussed the administration’s intention work more with bilateral country donors, multilateral organisations and non-profits (Lobe, 1/6).

In addition, investment in women worldwide will be an important component of U.S. efforts, Agence France-Presse reports. “Women and girls are one of the world’s greatest untapped resources,” according to Clinton. AFP writes that “[w]ith just one year of schooling, a woman’s children are ‘less likely to die in infancy or suffer from illness or hunger, and more likely to go to school themselves’” (Schmidt, 1/6).

“On sectors on which Washington hopes to focus its aid efforts, she [discussed] plans to invest $3.5 billion over the next three years in countries where agriculture represents more than 30 percent of gross domestic product and more than 60 percent of jobs and where up to 70 percent of a family’s disposable income is spent on food,” IPS writes. Clinton “also repeated previous administration pledges to provide $63 billion in global health that, in addition to prioritising the fight against AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis, will be used to improve local health systems” (1/6).

Ahead of the speech, Anne-Marie Slaughter, who leads policy planning efforts at the State Department, noted its context in the midst of the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review “being conducted at AID and the State Department, co-chaired by Shah, Slaughter and Deputy Secretary Jack Lew; and a White House-led inter-agency review, the Presidential Study Directive on U.S. Global Development Policy, formulating development policy across the government. Slaughter said the two reviews are closely coordinated,” Politico’s Laura Rozen reports on her blog (1/6).