What does USAID stand for?


Lant Pritchett says that promoting development and providing assistance to developing countries are not the same thing:

An existential question the next leader of USAID has to face is whether USAID is about assistance—in whatever forms and for whatever goals political support can be mobilized and logistics can be arranged—or whether it really is an agency whose mission is to promote development…

Development, for better or worse, has always been defined as a deliberate acceleration of modernization, conceived as a synchronized (if not simultaneous), complex, four-fold transition of economy, polity, administration, and society…

Even addressing a series of important problems for well-being like vaccinations, schools for girls, HIV/AIDS prevention or malaria does not add up to a development agenda. If the next leader of USAID does not own that objective and mission—putting the big “D” in USAID and not just little “a” in aid—he or she is sealing USAID’s irrelevance.