The Overseas Private Investment Corporation announces new investment in women's empowerment

On the eve of International Women's Day, the US Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) announced OPIC 2X, its new initiative on women.  OPIC will  directly invest US$350 million in projects that support lending to women-owned businesses, female entrepreneurs, as well as women-owned and women-led emerging market private equity funds. It is anticipated this initiative will mobilize an additional US$1 billion in private capital. 

Website - OPIC

News article - Devex

United States

US State Department announces new humanitarian assistance to Africa

The US State Department announced on March 6, 2018 nearly $533 million in additional humanitarian assistance for the people of Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, and Nigeria, as well as countries in the Lake Chad region.  This assistance, from both the State Department and USAID, includes emergency food and nutrition assistance, safe drinking water, and other services and supplies for vulnerable populations facing life-threatening food insecurity and malnutrition. 

Press release - State Department 

United States

USAID Administrator announces updates to Power Africa program

At the Fourth Annual Power Africa Summit, USAID Administrator Mark Green announced Power Africa 2.0, an updated strategy for the US government's public-private initiative to improve energy access in Africa.  The new strategy increases targets for energy generation, access, distribution, and transmission.  Power Africa 2.0 will also expand the number of US companies with which the US government will work.   

Remarks - USAID

News article - DEVEX

United States

Bipartisan bills to establish a new US development finance institution introduced in the House and Senate

With support from US President Donald Trump, bipartisan companion bills were introduced in the House and the Senate to establish a new US development finance agency.  The legislation, "The Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development Act of 2018" (the "BUILD Act of 2018"), would create the US International Development Finance Corporation (IFDC) with the purpose of modernizing the US approach to development finance in partnership with the private sector.

It would combine four existing government functions found in the Oversees Private Investment Corporation and USAID's Development Credit Authority, its enterprise funds, and the Office of Private Capital and Microenterprise, while expanding the available financial tools to promote economic growth in the developing world. The Senate bill was introduced by senators Bob Corker and Chris Coons, and the companion bill in the House by representatives Ted Yoho and Chris Smith.  

Press release - Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Press release - Office of Representative Yoho

United States

DFID and USAID launch Humanitarian Grand Challenge

The Department for International Development (DFID) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) have co-announced a new Challenge fund to drive technological innovation in humanitarian response. The fund will award inception grants up to £150,000 ($230,000) for innovative technology projects. The fund will also award further grants of  £600,000 ($920,000) to take successful projects to scale.

DFID and USAID are both committing £5.5 million ($8.4 million) to the initiative. The fund will be administered by Grand Challenges Canada.The fund is expected to also attract significant private- sector funding. 

Press release - DFID

United Kingdom United States

House Foreign Affairs Committee holds hearing on food aid reform

The House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) held a hearing on “Modernizing Food Aid: Improving Effectiveness and Saving Lives”.  Speakers at the hearing included Andrew Natsios, former Administrator to USAID; Erin Lentz, Assistant Professor of Public Affairs at the University of Texas; and Dan Glickman, former Secretary of Agriculture.

The hearing addressed issues such as the need to improve aid effectiveness through limiting cargo preferences, monetization, and increasing the flexibility and use of locally-sourced food. 

Hearing sumamry - HFAC

United States

President Trump’s FY2019 budget proposes severe cuts to foreign assistance

US President Donald Trump’s proposed budget plan for the fiscal year FY2019 seeks budget cuts of approximately 30% to the State Department and USAID. This proposal has been met by opposition, with both members of Congress and the development community speaking out against the cuts, emphasizing the negative effects such cuts would have on global development and the country's international perception. 

Press release - House Foreign Affairs Committee

Op-ed - MFAN

United States

President Trump releases FY2019 budget request

US President Donald Trump has released his budget for the fiscal year 2019.  The proposal, which was quickly rewritten to account for the budget deal passed by Congress on February 9, significantly increased defense spending, sought deeper cuts to safety net programs, including Medicare, and scaled back some of the original cuts. 

Budget document - Whitehouse 


United States

State Department and USAID release joint strategic plan

The State Department and USAID have released their new Joint Strategic Plan (JSP), which will guide foreign policy and development planning from  FY2018-2022. The JSP sets out four overarching goals: to protect US security, to renew its competitive advantage, to promote US leadership, and to ensure effectiveness and accountability to the US taxpayer.

Joint strategic plan - USAID

United States

Bread for the World issues policy brief on food assistance reform centering on US

Bread for the World Institute issued a new policy brief, "Advancing Nutrition through Food Aid Reform".  The paper looks at three areas where reforms to US law could lead to better nutrition outcomes: cargo preference, monetization, and flexibility.  These same issues were the subject of a recent House Foreign Affairs Commitee hearing on food assistance reform.

Background paper – Bread for the World