Statement of Diana Putman, Acting Assistant Administrator for Africa, before the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee On Africa and Global Health Policy

Speeches Shim

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

“FY 2023 Budget Request for Africa”

Good afternoon Chairman Van Hollen, Ranking Member Rounds, and distinguished members of the Subcommittee. I am grateful for the opportunity to discuss the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 President’s budget request for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Bureau for Africa.

The United States has partnered with the nations of Africa for decades, working alongside African governments, regional institutions, and civil society to address challenges, foster opportunities, and improve people’s lives. Today, our world is at an inflection point. On the key issues we face—from the COVID-19 pandemic, to the climate crisis and food insecurity, to conflict and mass displacements, to global struggles to prevent democratic backsliding and preserve gender equality and human rights —Africa is essential to our collective progress.

Africa’s increasing integration into global markets, demographic boom, and thriving culture of entrepreneurship present a remarkable opportunity for the United States to invest in Africa’s future, and thereby our own future. We have the chance to progress beyond the pandemic and begin building a better, stronger, more secure, and inclusive strategy for African nations and the United States.

The FY 2023 budget request for Africa takes its key policy considerations from the State-USAID Joint Regional Strategy for Africa and from the Interim National Security Strategy guidance. The Strategy details four strategic goals for engagement in the region: 1) Increase Mutually Beneficial Economic Growth, Trade, and Investment; 2) Advance Mutual Peace and Security Interests; 3) Strengthen Democracy, Human Rights, and Good Governance; 4) Promote Inclusive Country-led Development.

The FY 2023 funding request of $7.767 billion for foreign assistance accounts fully or partially implemented by USAID is a reflection of the critical importance of development and humanitarian assistance. Overall, the FY 2023 request is a 4.6 percent increase over the FY 2022 request level. It includes vital assistance to respond to the increasing importance of development priorities and continuing and protracted humanitarian crises across sub-Saharan Africa. The request will allow the United States to lead, and in leading, allow us to mobilize allies, organizations, and private sector partners to contribute more to the causes critical to our nation’s interests.

Increase Mutually Beneficial Economic Growth, Trade, and Investment

Increased trade and investment between the United States and African nations brings high quality financing, products, services, and expertise to African nations, creates jobs on both continents, and gives African businesses more open access to U.S. markets. Through Prosper Africa, USAID is committed to strengthening trade and investment ties between African nations and the United States, and spurring responsible private investment at a scale that could never be matched by foreign aid alone.

The FY 2023 request of $100 million for Prosper Africa will enable the U.S. to compete on a new scale, expanding the U.S. private sector’s engagement in Africa’s fast-growing markets and partnering with firms on innovative programs that will allow the U.S. to create a positive alternative to the People’s Republic of China’s often-attractive but dangerously non-transparent financing offers. Funds will mobilize billions more of investment in African economies and support hundreds of thousands of jobs beyond what is possible at current funding levels. USAID will expand our private sector-led approach to advance recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and bolster resilience to global shocks from the further invasion of Ukraine and climate change. Prosper Africa’s work will engage businesses and investors led by young people, women, and the African Diaspora, as well as small businesses, which are powerful job creators and the lifeblood of our economies.

The FY 2023 request of $100 million in funding for Power Africa will allow Power Africa to accelerate energy access for the nearly 600 million Africans (75% of global total) who still lack it and to lead on driving Africa’s transition to cleaner, renewable energy sources. Power Africa supports critical reforms to bolster transparency, increase competition, and enhance host country partners’ technical capacity. The initiative promotes mutual economic prosperity between the U.S. and African partners via technical expertise, innovation, investment, and enabling environment reform. With a strong emphasis on renewable energy and achieving the pledged climate ambitions of both the U.S. government and African leaders, the goal of Power Africa remains to advance universal energy access – adding 30,000 megawatts and 60 million connections by 2030. This work is complemented by USAID’s regional trade and investment activities that continue to focus on building a strong enabling environment for economic growth for African countries.

Advance Mutual Peace and Security Interests

USAID investments save lives, strengthen economies, prevent and mitigate fragility, promote resilience, and enhance freedom around the world. The Agency’s work complements the efforts of the Departments of State and Defense, helping reduce threats to both Africans and Americans at home and abroad. The FY 2023 budget request reflects the need to support the intent and objectives of key initiatives such as the Trans Sahara Counter Terrorism Partnership, the Partnership for Regional East Africa Counterterrorism, and the Global Fragility Act. Through these efforts, we also advance women’s meaningful participation in preventing and resolving conflict, countering violent extremism and terrorism, and building post-conflict peace and stability, all important elements of the U.S. Strategy on Women, Peace, and Security.

Strengthen Democracy, Human Rights, and Good Governance

In large part due to years-long trends of democratic backsliding and rising autocracies, we are at a critical moment for the United States and fellow supporters of democracy around the world. Now is the time to unite in the pursuit of a freer, more prosperous world. This is especially true in sub-Saharan Africa, where 93 percent of the population now lives in “Partly Free” or “Not Free” countries per the 2022 Freedom House rankings.

The FY 2023 request of $284.9 million in democracy funds will support a broad range of U.S. objectives with partner countries and regional organizations, and will stabilize and build democratic institutions; strengthen respect for human rights, good governance, and effective service delivery; enhance gender equality and social inclusion; and address causes of fragility and violence. These funds will also empower local partners, provide transparency in political systems, and address authoritarianism and disinformation through activities like strengthening independent media and digital technologies.

To address the projected doubling of population in Africa by 2050 to 2.2 billion people and to set them up for success, USAID will create opportunities for Africa’s children and youth with programs that increase equitable access to foundational learning and encourage talented youth, such as through the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). The FY 2023 request level of $20 million for YALI will expand opportunities to support transformational local leaders who contribute economically to their communities and advocate for peace, security, and democratic governance.

Promote Inclusive Country-led Development

Finally, this budget request places inclusive, country-led development at its center. As African countries continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, USAID will provide robust funding that strengthens local health systems and health security. The President’s FY 2023 request for Africa allocates approximately $3.83 billion for PEPFAR, and $1.84 billion for other health programs including malaria, tuberculosis, and maternal and child health.

Sub-Saharan Africa is vulnerable to natural resource degradation and the effects of climate change, including shocks from extreme weather events. The FY 2023 request of $249.7 million for climate recognizes this and will ensure African countries are building capacity to adapt to climate change while growing their economies and optimizing the use of natural resources and human capital in a socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable manner.

To catalyze agriculture-led growth, improve nutritional status, and reduce future humanitarian needs, the FY 2023 request of $440 million for agriculture includes assistance for 19 countries and five regional operating units implementing Feed the Future. This funding will respond to the global food security crisis driven by supply chain shocks that stem from the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s war on Ukraine. These funds will also enable the expansion of Feed the Future to eight new target countries in addition to the existing 12. These target countries reflect interagency consensus on where U.S. government investments can achieve sustainable reductions in poverty, malnutrition, and hunger while meeting the statutory requirements under the current Global Food Security Act.

It is crucial that USAID engage more frequently and sustainably with a broader and more inclusive range of partners. That’s especially true of the community-led organizations and companies based in the countries in which we work. Our approach to community-led development builds on more than a decade of the Agency’s prior experience working directly on localization. It devolves more power and leadership to local actors, elevates diversity and equity in our partnerships, and addresses some of the systemic and operational constraints at USAID. We have created intentional shifts in the way we design and implement our programs, placing local communities and stakeholders in the lead, and we continue to integrate this approach throughout our work.


While the narrative about Africa is often dominated by its challenges, it is a continent better characterized by resilience and transformation. We saw this in the innovations that sprang up to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19, the resilience shown by individuals experiencing negative outcomes of climate change, and the thousands of voices that have spoken out to safeguard democracy. These actions all illustrate the spirit of Africa and USAID, and with your support, we look forward to building toward that promising future together.

Thank you, and I look forward to responding to your questions


Last updated: July 27, 2022

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