We spoke with Calestous Juma, professor of the practice of international development and director of the Science, Technology and Globalization Project, about the pressing international development policy issues of the president’s second term.
Q: What are the top priorities for a second Obama administration in the area of international development?
A: The international development scene underwent seismic changes during President Obama’s first term. First, foreign aid build on the principles of classical charity gave way to new approaches that focus on mutual benefits through measures such as international trade. Second, the eurozone crisis and Japan’s economic decline have significantly impaired America’s traditional partners in supporting classical development cooperation. Finally, new actors such as China, Brazil and India have changed both the context and content of international development cooperation.
Q: What will be the potential challenges/roadblocks in the way of implementing those top priorities?
A: Much of the knowledge needed for the United States to project its influence is in universities and the private sector. Most of the existing mechanisms for development cooperation need to be adjusted to leverage the power of universities and the private sectors to foster international development cooperation.