Alongside the investments the United States has already made in the Middle East and North Africa, the President’s FY 2015 budget request ensures USAID programs will continue to support the needs and aspirations of the region’s people during this critical period of change. Our continued engagement with the people of the region serves as the foundation of our partnership with the countries of the region and will allow us to contribute to lasting growth, prosperity and peace.
As President Obama said in the 2013 State of the Union address, “We also know that progress in the most impoverished parts of our world enriches us all—not only because it creates new markets, more stable order in certain regions of the world, but also because it’s the right thing to do.”
As we step forward to answer the President’s call with renewed energy and focus, we remain committed to engaging the American people and serving their interests by leading the world to end extreme poverty.
For the past 56 years, we have partnered with the Government of Morocco to build a strong bilateral relationship that focuses on promoting economic growth, improving educational opportunities and strengthening the effectiveness of civil society’s political engagement. During this time, we also have worked together to make substantial improvements in the lives of everyday Moroccan citizens, including significantly improving maternal and child health, constructing two major dams, transforming thousands of semi-arid acres into productive agricultural use, and developing the microfinance sector in Morocco through high profile credit guarantees. We are proud and remain committed to this partnership, which is why in 2013, USAID and the Government of Morocco completed a new five-year Country Development Cooperation Strategy, or CDCS, that affirms this commitment.
Even though we work far from home, our work continues to realize benefits for our home: for opportunities we open for American businesses, the skills of our young people we help build, and the threats to our security that we help prevent. For less than one percent of the federal budget, we are delivering results that shape a more secure and prosperous future for the American people and the world.
As Administrator Rajiv Shah, who testified before you earlier today has stated our mission across the globe is to partner to end extreme poverty and promote resilient, democratic societies. Our best partners in this effort are democratic societies – mature governments, active civil societies and dynamic private sectors – because their commitment to growing their economies and investing in their people makes our investments go farther. Increasingly, we have such partners in the Latin American and Caribbean region, where sensible policies and smart donor investments have helped fuel impressive social, political and economic progress.
This is an unprecedented moment for our nation—one where we can again lead the world in achieving goals once deemed too ambitious, too dangerous, or too complex. In doing so, we can protect our national security and spur economic growth. But above all, we can express the generosity and goodwill that unite us as a people.
As President Obama said in the 2013 State of the Union address, “We also know that progress in the most impoverished parts of our world enriches us all—not only because it creates new markets, more stable order in certain regions of the world, but also because it’s the right thing to do.” As we step forward to answer the President’s call with renewed energy and focus, we remain committed to engaging the American people and serving their interests by leading the world to end extreme poverty.
Four years ago, President Obama set forth a new vision of a results-driven USAID that would lead the world in development. We have since risen to this challenge, pioneering a new model of development that brings a greater emphasis on 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.
Our work in Afghanistan is emblematic of our agency’s overall mission: USAID partners to end extreme poverty and promote resilient, democratic societies while advancing our security and prosperity. USAID’s role in Afghanistan is to promote a stable, inclusive and increasingly prosperous country. During the past decade, Afghanistan has made remarkable development gains across multiple sectors, thanks to the whole-of-government efforts of the United States, along with our international partners and the Afghan people.
As you may know, at least 165 million children worldwide are stunted, or have short stature resulting from chronic under-nutrition. New evidence shows that the effects of stunting are even more far reaching than we realized, with implications on many aspects of the lives of individual survivors and the countries they live in. Stunting leads to irreversible cognitive impairment and poor health over the lifespan. Each year, under-nutrition in all forms is the underlying cause of 3.1 million child deaths or 45% of all child deaths worldwide. It leads to higher health care costs, increased mortality and lower productivity.
This transition period is a pivotal moment for Afghanistan, in anticipation of which USAID has been planning and adjusting its programming to maximize sustainability, oversight and accountability. Throughout our efforts, we are applying important lessons from the past twelve years in Afghanistan, as well as from other high-risk environments in which USAID has worked.
We understand fully that the fiscal reality our nation faces at home means that resources available for Afghanistan will decline over time. Weaning Afghanistan from unsustainable levels of assistance is necessary for us, and essential for them. To achieve this without triggering a crisis, we must remain a strong partner and continue to provide assistance in areas critical to Afghan development and stability. To do this with fewer resources, we are making tough decisions and prioritizing investments that have the greatest potential for long term sustainability. As USAID navigates through the 2014 transition period, we are committed to expending every effort to safeguard taxpayer funds and ensure that the development progress in Afghanistan is maintained and made durable.
Last updated: July 24, 2014