As Americans continue to debate the cost and importance of our country’s participation on the world stage, it is more important than ever to understand just what the men and women of the U.S. State Department really do. Thankfully, two new podcast series offer listeners an inside look into how America’s diplomats advance and defend U.S. national interests around the world.
Food insecurity hinders nearly every aspect of human life, subjecting undernourished populations to a range of physical and societal ills—including higher childhood mortality, stunted growth, susceptibility to disease, lack of economic opportunity, poor education, and victimization by radical movements. One thing is clear at this point in our planet’s history: It is absolutely critical to support international development efforts that can increase the world’s ability to achieve food security through sustainable agriculture.
Africa – with its growing middle class and expanding infrastructure – is home to six out of the twelve fastest growing economies in the world, and represents an enormous economic opportunity to elevate America’s trade and investment relationships. But as America faces competition from countries like China with its state-sponsored investment activities in Africa, how can the U.S. effectively capitalize on the immense economic opportunity and not risk falling behind? The answer lies with America’s development and diplomacy programs, helping to level the playing field and create an enabling environment for American businesses to compete in developing countries.
According to Elephants Without Borders, an organization that conducts an elephant census for the Botswana government every four years, there has been a major increase in poaching in the region from previous years. In their 2014 census, the organization reported nine poached elephants. This year, while only halfway through the census, 87 dead have already been found.
The BUILD Act – which proposes a new International Development Finance Corporation (IDFC) that would double the financing authority of the existing Overseas Private Investment Corporation – passed in the House and out of committee in the Senate with broad bipartisan support. This is remarkable in today’s Washington and a step that has been widely applauded. As we approach the finish line, the hard part lies ahead: how do we ensure it is implemented well? How can we ensure a newly empowered IDFC has the greatest development impact? How do we promote strong coordination between the IDFC and other U.S. development agencies?
Since 2010, Feed the Future has helped an estimated 23.4 million people escape poverty and has prevented 3.4 million children from suffering from the devastating and irreversible effects of stunting. Furthermore, the program helped unlock $3.3 billion in agricultural rural loans, enabling farmers to generate $10.5 billion in new agricultural sales from 2011 through 2017. This economic growth has also created new markets for American businesses.
The Momtaz Yoga Center opened its doors in 2016, creating an oasis for mind and body and a community of support for women living in a conservative culture amid ongoing conflict. To grow her yoga business, Momtaz enrolled in a women-only Business and Project Management course through USAID’s Afghanistan Workforce Development Program, implemented by Creative Associates International.
In an effort to help save mothers and babies in India, Merck’s global initiative, — a 10-year, $500 million initiative to help create a world where no woman dies giving life— joined forces with the U. S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to help small Rajasthani health care facilities meet new nationally-accredited standards for maternal care. In order to reach this ambitious goal, Merck for Mothers and USAID turned to an innovative financing mechanism: a development impact bond.