On Wednesday the White House hosted a Summit on Global Development to reflect on the Obama administration’s legacy around development. And there’s a lot to reflect on! Global Citizen was honored to be in attendance at the Summit, and now we’re happy to give you the highlights:

1. Developing nations want trade  not aid.

The biggest theme of the summit was that countries receiving foreign assistance do not want to stay on foreign aid for long. They want to use it to build their economies and become a destination for foreign investment instead.

Panelist Elizabeth Littlefield, the CEO of Overseas Private Investment Corporation, said that she often hears from her partners in the developing world that they would rather receive $1 of foreign investment than $20 of foreign aid.

In addition, a big piece of the Obama administration’s legacy has been focused on domestic resource mobilization — or in other words, helping developing countries gain better access tax dollars so that they can fund programs that will help them lift their own people out of extreme poverty.

2. Global development has to be a pillar of our foreign policy

Foreign aid isn’t just beneficial to those who receive it. Everyone benefits from global development, as it helps to combat extremism by promoting better education and increasing people’s economic opportunities.

3. Be positive!

In the past 25 years over 1 billion people have been lifted out of extreme poverty. Right now, the world is the best place it has ever been or as the President put it, “If you had to choose a moment in history to be born... you’d choose now.”

4. “Let’s make hunger history!”

We were incredibly excited to hear that the President has signed the Global Food Security Act into law! And we couldn’t agree with him more that if we want our children to feed their minds we need to make sure their stomachs are fed first!

Global Citizen worked with partners across the sector to build momentum around the Global Food Security Act and — thanks to the support of Global Citizens across the country — this bill is now law!

5. Empowered women make strong communities

Yes! We couldn’t agree more Mr. President, empowering women strengthens communities and helps lift them out of poverty.


Demand Equity

5 Takeaways from the White House Development Summit

By Tom Guettler