US Secretary of Health and Human Services resigns

US Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price resigned on September 28, 2017 amid growing criticism of his use of privately chartered planes for government travel.  The White House has not yet announced a nominee to replace Price, who played a key role in the attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), former President Barack Obama’s landmark health overhaul. In addition to responsibility over domestic health policy, HHS is also responsible for implementing some global health programs, most notably portions of the President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR).

News report – New York Times

United States

US State Department official: no intent to merge State and USAID

Amid discussions in the US about redesigning the structure of foreign assistance, Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan has told a Congressional committee there are no plans to merge the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) into the State Department. He made the statement during testimony before the House of Representatives' Foreign Affairs Committee. At this time, he also pledged to engage with Congress as the redesign process moved forward.

Several think tanks and CSOs have published their own proposals for restructuring US foreign assistance, including a forthcoming proposal from the conservative Heritage Foundation that would merge development and diplomatic functions while moving other development assistance to the Millennium Challenge Corporation and eliminating the P.L. 480 food assistance program. 

Testimony and webcast – House Foreign Affairs Committee

CSO redesign proposals, including Heritage – Center for Global Development

United States

Canadian and American development ministers discuss cooperation on humanitarian crises

Canada’s Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, Marie-Claude Bibeau, and United States Agency for International Development Administrator, Mark Green, met during the 72nd Annual United National General Assembly (UNGA) to discuss how Canada and the US can work together in response to humanitarian crises, particularly in South Sudan.  The pair also discussed ways to “leverage assistance to combat corruption, promote transparency, and strengthen citizen-responsive governance in developing countries”. 

Press release - USAID

Canada United States

French development agency joins agricultural partnership for sub-Saharan Africa

The French development agency (AFD) will join the Rockefeller Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Alliance for the Green Revolution in Africa, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in a partnership aiming to transform agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa. The initiative gathers US$280 million in investments to boost the income of at least 30 million smallholder farmers and improve food security in 11 countries: Kenya, Burkina Faso, Mali, Ghana, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Malawi, and Mozambique. It also aims to be a technical development resource, promoting resilience to climate change among African producers.

News article – Jeune Afrique (in French)

France Global United States Agriculture

US House of Representatives passes omnibus funding bill

The US House of Representatives (House) passed an omnibus funding bill for the 2018 fiscal year that included the State and Foreign Operations (SFOPs) appropriations bill on September 14, 2017. The SFOPs bill funds most of the US’s foreign assistance. While the House bill is lower than 2017 fiscal year funding levels, it doesn’t include the significant cuts proposed in President Donald Trump’s FY2018 budget. Differences between the House bill and Senate version (which has not yet been considered by the full Senate) will likely not be resolved until early December, when the Continuing Resolution – which currently funds US foreign assistance – expires.

Press release – House Appropriations Committee

United States

ONE 2017 data report urges a 'doubling' of development finance in Africa

International campaigning and advocacy organization ONE's 2017 data report, 'Financing for the African Century', reveals that the world's poorest countries - and the world's poorest citizens - are receiving a declining share of global resources. While ODA levels have grown globally, the share for least developed countries (LDCs) and Africa has declined, and foreign direct investment (FDI) flows remain the lowest of any region in the world. 

With the continent’s population set to double by 2050, the report urges that all forms of development finance also be doubled. According to the report, increased investment in the empowerment of Africa's youth will be critical to harnessing its 'demographic dividend' and will require cooperation between African governments, donors, civil society, and the private sector.

Publication - ONE

US President Trump signs CR to keep government funded until December 8, 2017

On September 8th, 2017, President Trump signed a continuing resolution (CR) that will keep the government funded until December 8th, 2017. The CR basically continues funding the government at FY2017 levels, with a slight reduction of .6781%. However, this translates to some decreases to development spending, including roughly a US$5.4 million reduction in basic education funding.

The CR was included in a three-part deal between President Trump and congressional Democrats to bundle Hurricane Harvey relief funds and increase the debt limit. Senator John McCain (Republican) criticized congressional leaders for the deal, saying that the CR essentially signaled a failure of Congress to fund the federal government. 

Website - Basic Education Coalition

United States Education

US Senate Appropriations Committee approves its FY2018 SFOPs

The Senate Committee on Appropriations has approved the State and Foreign Operations appropriations (SFOPs) for FY2018. The bill, which provides funding for US foreign assistance, including ODA, diplomacy, and military assistance, totals US$51.2 billion. This is around US$4 billion more than the House of Representatives FY2018 SFOPs bill.

Some highlights of the bill are:

  • $2.3 billion for democracy programs
  • US$3.1 billion for both the Migration and Refugee Assistance account and the International Disaster Assistance account
  • No funding is provided for the Green Climate Fund
  • US$8.7 billion for the Global Health Programs account, which provides funding to the State Department and the US Agency for International Development
  • US$6 billion for HIV/AIDS, including US$5.7 billion to PEPFAR
  • US$59 million for polio eradication
  • US$830 million for maternal and child health programs
  • Upholds prohibitions related to abortion and family planning
  • US$755 for combatting malaria
  • US$100 million for combatting neglected tropical diseases
  • US$125 million for nutrition programs

SFOPs summary - US Senate 

United States Global health

Ambassador Mark Green confirmed as new USAID administrator

The US Senate has confirmed former congressman Mark Green as the new administrator for the US Agency for International Development (USAID). Green is a former Ambassador to Tanzania under President George W. Bush and a former president of the International Republican Institute. He comes with extensive experience in international development.  

In his confirmation hearing before the Senate, Green outlined several top-level priorities for his tenure, including: helping countries transition from development assistance, continued focus on democracy and human rights, humanitarian leadership, and  innovative financing.

News article - Reuters 

Green testimony - US Senate

United States

US increasing support to famine-affected countries

The US has announced upwards of US$169 million in new humanitarian assistance for those experiencing prolonged famine in Ethiopia and Kenya. Around US$137 million will go to Ethiopia and US$33 million is for Kenya. The new funding goes to emergency food assistance, nutrition supplies to treat malnourished children, safe water provision, and essential health services. According to the US Agency for International Development (USAID), this brings the US's total support in Ethiopia and Kenya to US$458 million for FY2017. 

In addition, in July 2017, USAID announced US$639 million to address food insecurity in South Sudan, Nigeria, and Yemen. According to USAID, this funding makes total US humanitarian assistance to the four countires more than US$1.8 billion since the beginning of FY2017.

Press release - USAID

Press release - USAID