Last year President Bush announced his intention to create the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA), a new bilateral development program with a yearly budget increase $5 billion over current foreign assistance levels. Both the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House International Relations Committee have marked up the authorizing legislation for the MCA, and the resulting bills reflect key recommendations from The Other War: Global Poverty and the Millennium Challenge Account (Brookings Institution Press and Center for Global Development, July 2003). Congressional appropriators will now have to weigh the competing demands on the foreign operations account.
Authors Lael Brainard, Carol Graham, Nigel Purvis, Steven Radelet, and Gayle E. Smith address how to best fashion the MCA and make it an effective tool to transform U.S. development policy and reinforce international aid cooperation. They propose several operating principles that call for improved cooperation strategies among U.S. development agencies, a demand-driven and competitive approach to aid, and the joint oversight of Congress and a MCA board. The authors also explore the larger questions for U.S. assistance policy posed by the launch of a major new agency.
The Millennium Challenge Account presents an opportunity to design a new blueprint for the effective delivery of foreign aid and to strengthen U.S. development policy more broadly. The Other War proposes recommendations to implement this agency—bridging the divide between policy and operational considerations, foreign policy and economic development objectives, and Congress and the executive branch.
Lael Brainard is director of the Brookings/CGD Project on the Millennium Challenge Account and holds the New Century Chair in Economic Studies and Foreign Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution. Carol Graham is vice president and director of the Governance Studies Program at the Brookings Institution, where she also directs the Global Poverty Reduction Initiative. Steven Radelet is a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development. Nigel Purvis is a senior scholar in Foreign Policy, Economic, and Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution. Gayle E. Smith is a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution and was senior director for African affairs at the National Security Council.