Barack Obama on US Aid

In a speech to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Barack Obama has promised to double aid by 2012 if he is elected President:

For the last twenty years, U.S. foreign aid funding has done little more than keep pace with inflation. Doubling our foreign assistance spending by 2012 will help meet the challenge laid out by Tony Blair at the 2005 G-8 conference at Gleneagles, and it will help push the rest of the developed world to invest in security and opportunity. As we have seen recently with large increases in funding for our AIDS programs, we have the capacity to make sure this funding makes a real difference.

No commitment to reform the institutions of US Foreign Assistance, however (unlike John Edwards).

3 comments on “Barack Obama on US Aid”

  1. Hi Owen,
    Interesting comment from Barack and one we are familiar with in the UK. With regard to this trend in massively upscaling funding, what would your response be (as a DFID staffer) to the comment in yesterdays International Development Commitee Report on Water and Sanitation which says, ‘DFID has no strategy in place to match its human resources to its expanding financial resources for the sanitation and water sectors. This reflecst a worrying tendancy within the department, on which we have commented before, to focus on financial inputs at the expense of determining linked human resource requirements to achieve the desired outcomes.’

    Owen replies: Thanks. This blog is not about to become an official forum for DFID staff to respond to comments and advice from the Parliamentary Select Committee that focuses on our work, so I am going to resist the temptation to respond to your question directly. But in general, I agree that there is too much political focus right across the development system on inputs and not enough on outputs and outcomes.

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Owen Barder

Owen is Senior Fellow and Director for Europe at the Center for Global Development and a Visiting Professor in Practice at the London School of Economics. Owen was a civil servant for a quarter of a century, working in Number 10, the Treasury and the Department for International Development. Owen hosts the Development Drums podcast, and is the author Running for Fitness, the book and website. Owen is on Twitter and