Romney to call for foreign aid ‘reform’ at Clinton confab

Charles Dharapak/AP

Mitt Romney will call for reforms to foreign aid, linking trade policy with development policy, according to a preview of a speech he will deliver today at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York.

Saying that “too often foreign aid programs try to supplant private enterprise,” the campaign is instead unveiling what it terms a Prosperity Pact, which it says will “constitute a bold break from the past.”

“Working with the private sector, the program would identify the barriers to investment, trade, and entrepreneurialism in developing nations," according to a campaign release. "In exchange for removing those barriers and opening their markets to U.S. investment and trade, developing nations would receive U.S. assistance packages focused on developing the institutions of liberty, the rule of law and property rights.”

As president, Romney would also de-emphasize microfinance, according to the campaign.

“A core element of the program will be to support new financing structures for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs),” the campaign stated. “A lot of work has been done in the area of microfinance. But microfinance is a poverty alleviation strategy and a much greater focus should be placed on SMEs that are too big for microfinance, but are too small to acquire much-needed capital from banks. Empowering SMEs will allow developing nations to reach the global market and create an enduring cycle of growth.” 

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