The crisis in Afghanistan continues to worsen, while the US continues to spend millions of dollars per month in foreign assistance. What's worse is that US foreign aid in Afghanistan is failing to reach its full potential because short-term and security goals are being emphasized over a coordinated and effective strategy to reduce poverty.
The US foreign aid system is highly inefficient. For example, at least 60 percent of US foreign aid funding never leaves the US; instead it is spent on salary and benefit packages for corporate consultants.
Fortunately, there is a major effort underway in the House Foreign Affairs Committee to make US aid more effective at combating extreme poverty in Afghanistan and other developing countries. But the committee needs to hear from you before they make this a priority this year.
Tell Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman to make foreign aid more effective at fighting poverty.
Reform should address three concerns. First, a new law should place poverty reduction as the primary purpose of US foreign aid.
Second, the Committee should coordinate with a White House led National Strategy for Global Development that brings together all aspects of development such as trade, aid, migration, and finance.
Third, the new law should empower poor people themselves to lift themselves out of poverty. By providing poor people and their governments with more information, capacity and control over their own development, we can make them true partners in the fight against poverty and injustice.
I urge you to use this opportunity to write a new Foreign Assistance Act and refocus our foreign assistance on fighting poverty through empowering the poor.