USAID Deputy Administrator Bonnie Glick’s Remarks at a USAID-MASHAV MOU Signing Ceremony

Remarks

For Immediate Release

Friday, January 31, 2020
Office of Press Relations

 
Friday, January 31, 2020
Tbilisi, Georgia

As Prepared

DEPUTY ADMINISTRATOR GLICK: Good morning everyone, welcome, and thank you for that kind introduction.

The Memorandum of Understanding that has brought us here together today illustrates the unique ways that democratic countries can help one another while also serving their own important political and economic priorities at home.

Simply put, this agreement strengthens the United States and Israel’s commitment to Georgia’s economic prosperity. Our focus on Georgia’s agriculture sector is no accident. Forty percent of Georgians work in agriculture, and the United States and Israel lead the world in agricultural innovation. Each of our countries has integrated our respective agricultural markets into the global supply chain. We are better off for it, and we are eager to help Georgia similarly improve.

USAID helps emerging economies on their journeys to self-reliance, in pursuit of the day when foreign assistance is no longer necessary and former recipients can join the ranks of donor nations themselves. Our Mission in Tbilisi has been honored to help our Georgian hosts pursue this development model since 1992.

Israel is one of the great success stories of this model. Its first decades were burdened by attacks from neighboring countries and by a centrally planned economy. As a result, Israel relied on economic assistance. But it eventually liberalized its economy, cultivated innovation, and flourished.

A high point of U.S.-Israel relations came in 1996, when Prime Minister Netanyahu declared before a joint session of the U.S. Congress that Israel no longer wanted U.S. economic assistance. The Prime Minister told Congress that his constituents preferred not to receive U.S. taxpayer dollars: “We will build an Israel of self-reliance,” he told our representatives. Today, not only is Israel no longer dependent on foreign economic assistance -- Israel is now a donor. More than two decades after his speech, Israel’s economy is stronger than ever. That is true self-reliance. Today’s MOU signing celebrates that great achievement.

Today’s signing also demonstrates the commitment that free-market democracies have to one another.

For years now, MASHAV and USAID’s relationships with Georgia have run in parallel. This Memorandum of Understanding merges some of our efforts and takes our mutual cooperation with Georgia’s Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture to the next level -- a trilateral partnership.

Looking at the bigger picture, Georgia is a key partner for the United States; one with which we share core values and many common strategic interests as well as friendships. Over time, USAID and MASHAV’s assistance here will extend to broad-scale, employment-oriented economic growth, through entrepreneurship and business development in other high-value sectors of the economy.

Our end goal is a Georgian society that is open, self-reliant, and integrated into the global marketplace. We are helping Georgia fulfill that aim by bolstering its civil society and private sector, and by fostering good governing practices throughout its government.

The day is coming when Georgia will be fully capable of planning, financing, and implementing its own development agenda. Of course, the lion’s share of that effort falls on the Georgian people themselves. But we are confident that our support, however humble, will benefit not only this beautiful nation but all freedom-loving peoples, by helping strengthen a more prosperous, stable, and democratic ally on the shores of the Black Sea.

I can say this with great confidence because of the remarkable progress that Georgia has already made. I was last here 31 years ago, so I’ve seen the dramatic development all around me.

As we move forward, the challenge of malign Kremlin interference is not going away. But working together, I am confident that Georgia will maintain its resilience against any and all attempts to undermine its remarkable progress.

And I look forward to the day that a Georgian leader will proudly declare -- perhaps before the U.S. Congress -- that Georgia has fulfilled its journey to self-reliance.

Last updated: February 03, 2020

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