Congressional Testimony

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

 
Chairman Ros-Lehtinen, Ranking Member Deutch, distinguished members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to discuss USAID assistance to Lebanon.

Lebanon remains a high priority for the United States. Since 2006, with the support of Congress, the United States has provided approximately $1.2 billion in economic assistance to the Lebanese people. Together with USAID’s technical expertise, these funds have played a critical role in promoting Lebanon’s stability and security through programs focused on good governance, advancing access to education and clean water, and supporting social cohesion.

As Deputy Assistant Secretary Ratney outlined, Lebanon is facing many challenges. The spillover from the Syria crisis has weakened the Lebanese economy, and put excessive pressure on the delivery of services. Many schools are overcrowded, food prices have escalated, and basic health delivery services are overwhelmed. Power, water and sanitation services do not meet the people's needs, and tensions between Lebanese host communities and the Syrian refugee population have intensified. Investment and trade with neighbors has slowed; tourism is down sharply from 2010; and unemployment has nearly doubled since 2012.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

United States assistance is having a transformative impact in sub-Saharan Africa. Between 2000 and 2015, the percentage of Africans living in extreme poverty has declined from 57 to 41 percent; under-5 mortality rates have declined from 154 per 1,000 births to 74 children per thousand in 2015; and African school primary enrollment rates have increased from 61 percent in 2000 to 79 percent in 2014.

These dramatic changes were the result of sustained efforts by African governments, with essential support from aid donors, foundations, and non-governmental organizations. Throughout USAID’s history, we have confronted some of the world’s greatest development challenges, and along with our partners, we have demonstrated that our work can and does have a measurable impact. Even so, every program should look forward to the day when it can end. So every USAID mission must continuously evaluate how each program dollar moves a country closer to that day.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

In response to the latest violence, USAID is responding on both sides of the Burma/Bangladesh border, providing humanitarian assistance where possible, as well as helping host communities cope with the influx of refugees in Bangladesh, and addressing intercommunal tensions in ethnically mixed areas of Rakhine in Burma, including those not directly affected by recent violence. As a foreign service officer who lived on the Thailand-Burma border sixteen years ago working with migrants and refugees, Burma is for me, as I know many others, a special place that has influenced my path in international human rights and development. In my testimony, I will touch on the issues USAID is responding to in the current crisis, and highlight some of the challenges we face in attempting to provide assistance, and bring a lasting resolution to this crisis.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

In summary, USAID would like to emphasize our long-standing relationship with the Liberian people and highlight our commitment to accompany Liberia through this historic transition. We believe that the Government of Liberia can create conditions for a credible electoral process, from the pre-election period through the transparent tabulation and announcement of results, and USAID will continue to support these efforts. USAID is poised to support post-election reform efforts, assist the National Election Commission to apply lessons learned to further their capability, and professionalize political parties to further continue democratic development.

We will urge the newly elected Administration to consolidate democratic gains through effective and accountable governance, responsiveness to its citizens, and adherence to the rule of law. This includes developing and utilizing systems that reduce opportunities for corruption and waste of limited public resources. Our assistance will continue to promote good governance while strengthening critical public administration functions at national and local levels. These systems improve policy-making, budget and financial accounting, human resources management, and domestic revenue mobilization. We will continue to support land policy reforms and efforts to improve the quality of legal services available to the population, and we will build civil society and media oversight capacity, thereby reducing opportunities for renewed conflict or instability – key requirements for sustained peace and economic growth in Liberia.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

The President’s FY 2018 budget request for Department of State and USAID foreign assistance in the South Asia region is $220.8 million. Specifically for USAID, this budget request supports activities in Bangladesh, Nepal, and India—three vastly different countries in their stage of development and the challenges they face. The budget request reflects the imperative to direct foreign assistance investments to approaches that have the greatest impact and are cost effective in advancing U.S. national security objectives, asserting U.S. leadership, and fostering economic opportunities for the American people, while working in partnership with these countries to achieve their development goals.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Development plays an indispensable role, alongside diplomacy and defense, in advancing U.S. national security and economic interests. With less than 1 percent of the fiscal year (FY) 2018 discretionary budget request, USAID’s programs help reduce poverty and promote economic growth, strengthen democratic institutions, and avert crises worldwide. Our efforts bolster self-reliance in developing countries, which helps them forge sustainable paths of progress that benefit us all by building stronger trade and security partners and a more peaceful world. When it comes to Asia, a region of the world whose security and economies are intimately intertwined with our own, the region’s success directly impacts U.S. national security and economic interests. As the most populous, fastest-growing region in the world, Asia is one of the main drivers of the global economy and is hugely consequential to our own future. Asia is a leading destination for U.S. exports, which support some 3.4 million U.S. jobs. Vietnam is the fastest-growing market for U.S. exports in the entire world. By 2030, Asia will be home to more than half the world’s consumer class and account for more than 40 percent of global GDP. Half of the next billion people added to the world will be in Asia. Asia’s untapped, and growing, market potential presents tremendous opportunity to create U.S. jobs and support regional and global prosperity.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

In many ways, the Europe and Eurasia region is a USAID success story. The region as a whole has undergone an historic transformation in the short time since the collapse of communism. Young countries have overcome tremendous social, political, and economic hurdles to chart a new course for their citizens, guided by free markets and democratic principles. Of 24 original partner countries, half have graduated from USAID assistance and have successfully joined the Euro-Atlantic community through institutions such as NATO and the European Union (EU).  Many of these countries are now among our closest allies and have become important trade partners. U.S. exports to these graduates have had a fivefold increase in twenty years, growing from over $2 billion in 1995 to over $10 billion in 2015.  This rate exceeds the growth of U.S. exports worldwide. These countries are thriving, and many have become donor countries themselves.  USAID is a proud partner to this change.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

When it comes to Central Asia, a region of the world especially vulnerable to instability and economic shocks, development success is vital. A secure, stable, prosperous Central Asia is in the U.S. national interest. Successfully achieving these objectives means the region is a more effective partner in countering the violent extremism that exerts an increasing pull over Central Asians. It means Central Asia is more capable of resisting Russian pressure and countering Russian disinformation—for example, through enhanced trade relationships in the region and beyond, as well as through better access to independent sources of information. It means helping to stabilize neighboring Afghanistan through increased trade and energy linkages, and closer people-to-people ties. And it means Central Asia is more effective at containing its rampant and deadly tuberculosis (TB) epidemic, which undermines global health security and disrupts economic productivity.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Global donors continue to be confronted this year with major humanitarian crises around the world, which demand an immediate, substantial, and collaborative response. The USAID-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Network, or FEWS NET, warned early on that 2017 would see an unprecedented 81 million people across 45 countries in need of emergency food assistance, largely due to persistent conflict, severe drought and economic instability. South Sudan experienced famine earlier this year and three other countries—Somalia, Nigeria and Yemen—face the threat of famine, putting a combined 20 million people at risk of severe hunger or starvation. In terms of scale, more than twice the populations of New York City and Washington, D.C. combined are at risk. Over the past year, I have traveled to some of these countries and others facing severe food insecurity to see firsthand the situation on the ground. Today I want to share with you more about the ongoing crises in these countries, what we and others in the international community are doing to respond, and the challenges these countries face.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Global Food Security Act sent a clear message that the United States is committed to addressing the root causes of poverty and hunger by equipping people with the tools to feed themselves. Feed the Future, guided by the Global Food Security Strategy, is leveraging investment from partner countries and the private sector to reduce reliance on humanitarian aid, promote American prosperity, deliver results, and build stability around the world. What began as the U.S. Government response to the 2008 global food crisis under President George W. Bush, led to a mobilized commitment and investment from other donors and countries in targeted, long-term food security solutions. These efforts continue today in many of the world’s most vulnerable countries, including those faced with the specter of famine and insecurity.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

USAID supports U.S. national security interests, promotes American prosperity, and advances American leadership by helping our partners recover from conflict, foster stability, and promote inclusive governance and economic growth.

With this request, we will continue to work with our international partners and those in the region to prioritize mutually identified areas of need that advance U.S. national security goals.

As Acting Assistant Secretary Jones noted, the crises in the region have a direct impact on U.S. national security and economic prosperity. The programs that USAID implements, with your continuing oversight and support, enhance regional security, resilience, and prosperity – benefits that are directly connected with American national security and prosperity.

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Last updated: October 12, 2017

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