U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Mark Green's Remarks at the Memorandum of Understanding Signing with the Republic of Korea on the USAID-led Power Africa Initiative

Remarks

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Office of Press Relations
Telephone: +1.202.712.4320 | Email: press@usaid.gov

 
ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: Thank you for being here to witness a historic celebration of partnership, progress, and friendship between the U.S. and the Republic of Korea. At USAID, we believe the purpose of our international assistance must be ending its very need to exist. And we say that not because we seek to retreat from our friends. All to the contrary: we say it because we believe in our friends. We believe in them, and we believe in their potential. And there is no better story illustrating those principles and that journey than Korea, a country which, years ago, rose from the very ashes of war to achieve first self-reliance and then prosperity. And now, Korea is looking to help others as they take on their own journey to self-reliance. America is proud to have played a small part in this process, building on the values that we share; values like democracy, free enterprise, and respect for human dignity.

The MOU that we have signed today is more than a piece of paper. It symbolizes two great friends dedicating themselves to work together so that others might have a brighter future. Power Africa is one of the U.S. Government's most ambitious and innovative assistance tools, and it not only brings together several of our agencies, but it is powered by private enterprise. That is the real strength of America. The result is electricity being extended for the first time to more than 50 million Africans. Ultimately, we aim to add at least 30,000 megawatts of new electrical power capacity and 60 million electrical connections by the year 2030, reaching 300 million Africans.

The Government of Korea is the first new partner to commit itself to specifically financing critical transmission line infrastructure, a billion dollars' worth and 1,000 kilometers of new transmission lines that will actually connect people and industry to the new power plants Power Africa is helping to build. As we like to say in America, this will be a game-changer in the overall effort to electrify Africa. So, I would say to the Deputy Prime Minister: we are grateful for your partnership and we know that together we can do incredible things for Africa.

As I close, I can't help but point out that the approach underlying both this MOU and Power Africa is in contrast to the approach that a few other powers, more authoritarian powers, like to push. They sometimes offer easy money and quick results. What some of our friends discover only too late is that this easy money is built mostly on debt, often unsustainable debt -- debt that threatens economic independence and control over resources. America and South Korea both offer a clear choice, a better choice. We offer an opportunity for partners to rise and fulfill their people's aspirations and their countries' economic destiny.

Today, we celebrate enterprise-driven assistance -- not really a loan, not a handout -- but together, we offer a hand-up. We celebrate two great friends coming together to offer others a chance at self-reliance, an opportunity to be economically independent, a chance to become the next Korea. Thank you again for having me here. We are proud of this partnership, and we are grateful for the friendship. Thank you.

Last updated: July 16, 2018

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