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Report

Capacity for Change: Reforming U.S. Assistance Efforts in Poor and Fragile Countries

Frederick Barton, Margaret Taylor, and Noam Unger

Introduction

The U.S. government is in the midst of a serious review of how to engage more effectively in developing countries. From destabilizing conflicts to climate change, pandemics, and food insecurity, daunting transnational challenges are having particularly large impacts on poorer countries. National security leaders, including the President, the Secretaries of State and Defense, and the newly confirmed head of USAID, have emphasized the need for strengthened civilian capacity to address the challenges of poor and fragile countries. Yet no broad strategy has been developed for providing assistance to developing nations to enable the United States, together with its allies, to address these interwoven foreign policy challenges.

Capacity for Change: Reforming U.S. Assistance Efforts in Poor and Fragile Countries describes the context for reform and examines the key issues for decision by policymakers in an effort to inform a coherent and effective national approach to both stabilization and broader development. It concludes with a set of recommendations and practical next steps, recognizing that improved capacity to effectively assist poor and fragile countries will come not from a single “silver bullet” idea but, rather, a package of strategic, organizational, and operational reforms that work together in concert.

Authors

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