A new focus for USAID: Ending extreme poverty

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

On Thursday, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah is set to give a speech at the Brookings Institution on the goal of ending extreme poverty, planned to put a bit more policy oomph behind U.S. President Barack Obama’s call in the State of the Union address earlier this year for America to join with its allies to end $1.25 poverty in two decades. Here’s some things it would be great to hear in the speech:

  • Realism. Ending $1.25-a-day poverty is an ambitious goal. Brookings’ own Lawrence Chandy has produced a range of estimates, the most optimistic of which suggest that with strong growth and improved distribution in all the right places we might get under 3 percent of the planet living on $1.25 a day or less by 2030. There’s reason for hope that growth will continue and inequality will reduce –but it would be stunningly wonderful if it did so everywhere that mattered to a zero target. And it would probably involve some pretty dramatic global progress in areas from trade through aid to migration to pull off. Which brings us to…
  • Humility. It isn’t going to be the United States that ends extreme global poverty. And it certainly isn’t going to be USAID that ends extreme global poverty. This is about developing countries seeing (a lot of) inclusive growth. There remains a big role for the U.S. to play. Migration as a tool for development, action on tax havens and transfer pricing, completing the free trade agenda in agriculture and services, reigning in the charge for increased global knowledge monopolies could all help boost developing country economic prospects, but most will take multilateral action. And USAID can certainly play a role, but that involves…

Source: Devex (link opens in a new window)

poverty alleviation