“What we're trying to do is to get back to government-to-government transactions because we think that it's the best way to manage a sustainable development program.” David Ostermeyer,
As USAID undergoes reforms, senior officials David Ostermeyer and Thomas Briggs, talk about their priorities for the future of the US agency deploying international assistance.
Since its creation in 1961, USAID has been the principal US agency deploying assistance to countries that are recovering from disaster, trying to escape poverty and engaging in democratic reforms.
Now, the agency is embarking on an extensive internal reform program that aims to change the way it does its business. The reforms, entitled USAID FORWARD, emphasize new partnerships, greater innovation and a stronger focus on results.
“What we’re trying to do is to get back to government-to-government transactions because we think that it’s the best way to manage a sustainable development program, and enable us to walk away from a program,” says the agency’s Chief Financial Officer, David Ostermeyer.
The initiative, which can also be traced to the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review led by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, has seven separate strands of activity:
- Implementation and procurement reform (IPR)
- Talent management
- Rebuilding policy capacity
- Strengthening monitoring and evaluation
- Rebuilding budget management
- Science and technology
Thomas Briggs, USAID’s Public Financial Management Risk Assessment Leader, says that the depth and variety of these overseas operations has underlined the need to increase the organization’s capacity.
“Over the past four years, we’ve gone from approximately 1,000 to 1,800 foreign service officers. This increased capacity has given us more ability to look at how we run our programs,” he says.
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