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2010-01-06 | Clinton Sees U.S. Aid Based on “Partnership, Not Patronage”

Clinton Sees U.S. Aid Based on “Partnership, Not Patronage”

By Stephen Kaufman Staff Writer

Washington — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says the United States is elevating development to play a role equal to diplomacy and defense in U.S. foreign policy, and says efforts to end poverty and inequality are indispensible to creating a more stable and democratic world.

The secretary spoke January 6  at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington. She said the Obama administration’s emphasis on development is based on “partnership, not patronage,” with the countries it is seeking to help.

Instead of dictating solutions from afar, the United States will work with countries that “take the lead in designing and implementing evidence-based strategies with clear goals,” Clinton said.

“Development built on consultation rather than decree is more likely to engender the local leadership and ownership necessary to turn good ideas into lasting results,” she said.

At the same time, the United States is looking for partners who are demonstrating their own commitment to development by “practicing good governance, rooting out corruption, making their own financial contribution to their own development.”

Along with employing sound economic policies, the Obama administration expects countries rich in natural resources to be “managing those resources sustainably, and devoting some of the profits to people’s development.”

The secretary said the U.S. approach, in programs such as the Millennium Challenge Corporation, “highlights the difference between aid and investment.” The United States will continue to provide aid such as food and medicine around the world, but “we hope one day, far from now, to put ourselves out of the aid business, except for emergencies,” she said.

Instead, through strategic investment, “we seek to break the cycle of dependence that aid can create, by helping countries build their own institutions and their own capacity to deliver essential services,” she said.

The Obama administration is seeking a “safer, more prosperous, more democratic and more equitable world,” the secretary said, and development is “a strategic, economic and moral imperative, as central to advancing American interests and solving global problems as diplomacy and defense.”

One third of humanity lives in conditions that offer little opportunity for improvement for them or their children, she said. At the same time, it is difficult to stop terrorism when hundreds of millions of young people “see a future with no jobs, no hope and no way ever to catch up to the developed world.”

Many have found themselves “on the wrong side of globalization, cut off from markets and out of reach of modern technologies,” and it is difficult to help advance human rights “when hunger and poverty threaten to undermine the good governance and rule of law needed to make those rights real,” Clinton said.

The secretary said U.S. development assistance around the world will now be measured by what is achieved, rather than what is spent. She added that accumulated development experience and technology innovations have made the 21st century an era to do development “better than it’s ever been done before, and to do it for more people, in more places.”

Along with investments in areas such as health, agriculture, security, education, energy and local governance, Secretary Clinton said, the United States will also be designing development programs specifically to help women and girls, who she said are “one of the world’s greatest untapped resources.”

Studies have shown that the children of a woman who has even one year of education will be less likely to die young or from hunger and more likely to go to school themselves, she said.

“Investing in the potential of women to lift and lead their societies is one of the best investments we can make,” Clinton said.