Due to years of national economic turmoil, the future of U.S. foreign aid is now uncertain. In May, Congress proposed capping next year’s foreign aid budget at $40.6 billion, which is fifteen to twenty percent less than the current amount of $51.7 billion. The recent sequestration has reduced international assistance programs by another $1.7 billion.
Fortunately, several advances bode well for the future of economic development. First of all, over the next several years, a number of today’s developing countries—including Ghana, Mozambique, and Tanzania—are expected to move into the ranks of the middle income countries, joining states such as Chile, Brazil, and South Africa. With more wealth, these countries should be better equipped to help their underserved citizens. Still, many organizations in these countries, including government agencies, businesses, and nonprofits, require foreign assistance; but more than traditional direct aid investment, these organizations now need elite professional training. Thus, as the U.S. government begins to cut foreign aid spending, there is an enticing opportunity for private sector organizations to step in and provide much needed skills-transfers and training.