Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Obama Announces a New U.S. Global Development Policy

BBC: Obama Pledges Revamp of Foreign Aid Policy

CNN: Obama Announces Development Plan at U.N.
CBS News: Obama Announces New U.S. Approach on Development
The U.N. Millennium Developmental Goals Website

President Obama announced his plans to aid global development last week at the U.N. summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Obama pledged the United States’ continued help in aiding poor and developing countries. Obama also announced new plans for the United States’ global development policy, taking a step towards fulfilling his promises to reform United States’ foreign aid programs in order to improve efficiency and to increase the amount of U.S. international aid to $50 million by 2012.

The U.N. adopted the MDGs in 2000. The MDGs are a group of goals that the U.N. is committed to reaching by 2015, including improving access to education, promoting gender equality, advancing health care and reducing poverty levels.

Obama encouraged the U.N. to increase its actions, asserting that if it continued with the status quo it would be unable to meet any of the MDGs. The President announced that the U.S. would update its current foreign aid, by not just doling out supplies such as food and medicine, but by working with nations over time to improve and establish sustainable economies. Obama declared that supplying goods only helped poor countries temporarily; it did not facilitate these countries’ development.

The President stated that the U.S. would help cooperative nations that wished to develop investments and trade. He emphasized that in order for an economy and nation to prosper, its government must be honest and free from corruption. Obama pledged that the United States would help countries which previously had authoritative governments, but now had democracies in place. Obama praised Liberia as a model country that has started to transform its government and economy after being riddled with years of governmental corruption and violent civil wars.

The President also voiced his belief that the U.S. should not be the sole country initiating reform in its foreign aid policies. Obama stressed that not only other governments, but also the private sector entities such as foundations and NGOs needed to continue to be committed to fixing the world’s poverty and economic problems.

1. Will working with nations to develop economic and social policies help developing countries? Are there any disadvantages to this kind of reform?
2. What factors should the U.S. consider when deciding which countries to support with foreign aid? Should the type of government of the country matter?

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