U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Mark Green's Remarks at the 2018 Korea-Africa Economic Cooperation Conference

For Immediate Release

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

 
Busan Exhibition Center
Busan, Republic of Korea
May 22, 2018

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: Thank you. Friends, it is always a challenge to follow my friend Dr. Adesina. His vision, his energy are inspiring. I think the work plan he has laid out for all of us is convincing. This meeting of the African Development Bank would be important under any circumstances. The fact that it is happening here in Busan and that the [inaudible] Deputy Prime Minister who joined us, and that the U.S. and the Government of Korea will sign an agreement to put real money towards further investment in Africa is truly historic.

At USAID, we believe the purpose of international assistance must be ending its need for existence. Not because we wish to retreat from our friends, but instead, because we believe in our friends, and we believe in their -- your -- potential for the future. We believe in human dignity, in the innate desire of every person, every community, and every country to craft and lead its own bright future.

And because this spirit burns bright in the heart of every American, when leaders in places like Africa are willing to take on the tough choices and the difficult reforms that are necessary on their journey to self-reliance, we feel an obligation to walk at their side and help as we can. And there is no better story illustrating those principles and that journey than that of the Republic of Korea, a country which years ago arose from the ashes of war to achieve first, self-reliance, and then, prosperity, and is now seeking to help others on their own journeys to self-reliance.

Within living memory, Korea has built, largely from scratch, a strong and responsive democracy, one that is capable, quite capable, of holding its leaders accountable, and a genuine industrial powerhouse. America is proud to have played a role in that process, building on values that we share with Koreans, like democracy, free enterprise, and respect for human dignity. Each of the countries that is here today, as Dr. Adesina just said -- each of the countries here today -- can chart that same course, and America pledges to navigate that course with you.

The U.S. and South Korea and their closest partners offer to help African nations achieve self-reliance and, eventually, enterprise-driven prosperity. Other countries, authoritarian countries, like China, they offer a different path. That path often features easy money up front, but we know that it nearly always includes long-term debt, unsustainable debt, obligations that are anything but self-reliance.

So, each of the countries that is here today has a choice to make. Will you rise and fulfill your people's aspirations and your country's economic destiny, or will you accept assistance that mortgages the future? This should be Africa's time, Africa's decade, Africa's moment in history. The continent boasts incredible resources: mineral wealth, fertile land, and abundant gas, limitless sunshine, and hydropower that can power the continent and drive exponential economic growth.

But the continent enjoys so much more: the awe-inspiring abilities of your people. The African Development Bank, under the visionary leadership of Dr. Adesina, plays a leading role in [inaudible] Power Africa, feeding them. It doesn't allow [inaudible] integrate Africa and improve the quality of life for Africans. USAID is proud to work together with the Development Bank on all of these priorities, but especially through our Power Africa and Feed the Future initiatives.

The African Development Bank was among USAID's first partners in these initiatives and has committed its own resources to achieving the goals of [inaudible] energy economy and feeding this great continent. The African Development Bank was Power Africa's very first partner, committing more than $2 billion initially, and already providing more than [inaudible] in resources to help achieve all of Africa's goals [inaudible] electricity in sub-Saharan Africa.

Today's event is particularly special, because the government of Korea is now committing one billion dollars to Power Africa. For all these initiatives to be successful, we are counting on you, the visionaries of Africa, the leaders of Africa, the voices for economic growth in Africa. We need you to do your part, and that means making sure that [inaudible] enabling environment so that the private sector can make necessary capital investments without saddling countries with generations of debt. And you must act quickly; we must all act quickly.

[inaudible], for example. The Nigeria [inaudible] close to $30 billion in GDP each year because of new [unintelligible] infrastructure. We must all work closely together and work closely with the leaders in Nigeria to create the type of environment that encourages companies to invest in Nigeria, to invest in all your countries. And we -- the U.S. Government, the African Development Bank, the Government of Korea -- we pledge to stand by your side on the journey to self-reliance, with real resources to make it happen.

America looks forward to working more closely with you, with the African Development Bank, and the Government of Korea in all these areas. As has already been said a number of times, the Korea miracle is not simply Korea's. The Korean miracle can be Africa's miracle, and we look forward to helping you all on that journey. Thank you.

Last updated: October 15, 2018

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