Africa is a continent on the rise, with growing economies and the youngest population in the world. With fifty percent of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa under the age of 18, there is extraordinary potential for this generation of youth to shape the future of the continent in powerful ways. However, more than 200 million of these children currently live in extreme poverty, over 15 million children have lost one or both parents to AIDS, and millions more are affected by conflict and natural disaster.
Pending final Congressional approval, USAID expects to implement up to $150 million in this fiscal year to address the root causes of crime and violence in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. Of this amount, approximately $50 million is specifically designated programs for at-risk youth. Through the Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI), we are investing in opportunities for youth and their communities and strengthening the institutions charged with administering justice to keep people safe. Our services for at-risk youth, job training, community policing, safe urban spaces and juvenile justice programs complement the youth-focused cultural and educational programs as well as the law enforcement and interdiction activities led by our inter-agency partners.
Under the leadership of President Obama, the United States has put gender equality and the advancement of women and girls at the forefront of the three pillars of U.S. foreign policy–diplomacy, development, and defense. This is embodied in the President’s National Security Strategy, the Presidential Policy Directive on Global Development, and the 2010 U.S. Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review. Women’s empowerment is critical to USAID’s core mission of ending extreme poverty and promoting resilient, democratic societies while advancing our security and prosperity and addressing pressing health and education challenges.
President Obama set forth a new vision of a results-driven USAID that would lead the world in development. We have risen to this challenge, pioneering a new model of development that emphasizes partnerships, innovation, and results. We are guided in these efforts by a new mission statement: we partner to end extreme poverty and promote resilient democratic societies while advancing our security and prosperity. Combating wildlife trafficking and the promotion of conservation are critically important to USAID and our mission. Conservation, which includes combating wildlife trafficking, is fundamental to human development and in achieving sustainable development.
This afternoon, I want to share with you our perspective on the vital role of U.S. foreign assistance in this region and how USAID’s development programs address regional challenges and advance American interests. Across the East Asia-Pacific, USAID has eight field missions that provide support to 22 countries. By nature of our mission, to end extreme poverty and promote resilient, democratic societies, USAID advances U.S. security and prosperity while furthering the core objectives of the Administration’s Rebalance to the Asia-Pacific. The President’s robust Fiscal Year 2015 budget request of $810.7 million for Department of State and USAID assistance in East Asia and the Pacific enables USAID to continue helping to lay the foundations for lasting progress in the region.
In Mexico, as in the rest of the region, USAID is increasingly focused on helping the region’s governments promote the rule of law and reduce crime and violence, while furthering respect for human rights. This is a matter of national security for the United States, as my colleagues have just noted, as well as an economic and political imperative for the affected countries. Continued insecurity is a severe drain on private and public investment in the Americas, a leading constraint to economic growth in some countries, and is also arguably the greatest threat to democracy in the affected countries.
USAID partners around the world to end extreme poverty and promote resilient, democratic societies, while advancing our security and prosperity. Our work in Northern Nigeria highlights the nexus between security, stability and poverty reduction. We are committed to working with Nigeria to build a peaceful society that promotes inclusive economic growth and lifts its citizens out of poverty.
One month ago, Boko Haram militants kidnapped more than 250 young girls from their school in an attack so shocking it mobilized the world behind returning these girls to their families. But this latest brutality was not an isolated incident. For years, Boko Haram has terrorized the people of Northern Nigeria through bombings, kidnapping, and sexual violence.
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
In 2011, President Obama said: “Asia will largely define whether the century ahead will be marked by conflict or cooperation, needless suffering or human progress.” With one-fifth of the world’s population—a third of which is living in extreme poverty—South Asia is a central focus of U.S. development assistance to ensure that the coming century is one marked by cooperation and human progress that extends mutual prosperity and security across the Asia-Pacific region.
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
2014 is a pivotal year for Afghanistan as the country navigates a series of three transitions: the first democratic transfer of power in Afghanistan’s history; the completion of the security transition, including the withdrawal of a majority of international troops; and the continuing effort to reduce Afghanistan’s reliance on international aid by facilitating private sector-led economic growth. This is a critical moment in Afghanistan’s history, and USAID is working with the Afghan people and our international partners to do all we can to ensure these transitions go as smoothly as possible, and that Afghanistan emerges as a stable country on a path toward self-sufficiency.
Nowhere in the world is development such an important part of U.S. engagement efforts as it is in Africa, and the changing tide on the continent requires a new style of engagement. Today, Africans are the architects of their development, not just beneficiaries. Donors support their plans, they do not dictate them. Citizens demand democracy, not autocracy, and they are seizing the opportunities that come with better education, better health, and better public services.
Last updated: July 25, 2014