USAID Administrator Mark Green's Remarks at the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition Conference

Remarks

For Immediate Release

Monday, November 13, 2017
Office of Press Relations
Telephone: +1.202.712.4320 | Email: press@usaid.gov

 
Wilmington, Delaware

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: First off, it's great to be here. It's great to be here in Senator Coons' state, and constituency, and I've got to tell you, I feel blessed to be here. Senator Coons is a huge supporter of the work that we do at the USAID and also, quite frankly, he's a just great friend. We share a lot of values, and we share a passion for lifting lives and building communities. And there are very few people in Washington D.C. who are doing more for the cause than Senator Chris Coons.

In terms of my background, I think what I always point to is really, quite frankly, my time as Ambassador. Going back 30 years ago, my wife and I --

MS. SCHRAYER: We won't do all 30 years. (laughter)

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: Sue and I, my wife, Sue and I were teachers in Kenya (inaudible) and lived and worked in a village where only about half the kids ever went to any kind of school at all, and only a handful would ever graduate from school.

My time as Ambassador, I think drove it home more than anything else. And I remember one day, my father, who had just retired as a physician, and he and I delivered food to AIDS shut-ins in a place called Morogoro, Tanzania. And I remember going to do that with him, feeling very proud of myself -- my dad, the doctor, is actually going to see something close to doing rounds in East Africa. I remember going to one place that looked more like a farm shed than a home, and going inside. And no light, of course, no electricity. And finally waiting until my eyes adjusted to the light, and seeing a poor woman, obviously very, very ill with AIDS, sitting on a little bucket in the center of a dirt floor, and we delivered some grain for her family.

And I remember her looking at me and saying, "I just have one question." I said, "Okay." And she said, "I used to be a businesswoman, and I was successful. My husband contracted AIDS, and died." Half her children had died from complications of AIDS, and she said, the question is, "With the last bit of money I have, should I buy books for my children who are healthy or meds for the ones who are not?"

How do you answer a question like that?

And I remember as I was walking away, my dad saying to me, "Mark, can't the government do something for them?" There's no welfare. There's no Medicaid. This is it. If we don't do this, it doesn't happen. You cannot go through an experience like that and not believe that America is a force for good in the world.

MS. SCHRAYER: Amazing. Well, now you are sitting in a seat where you can do something great on that, and we're going to talk about that.

I want to unravel some of the issues we have been talking about so far, and I want to start with one that, Senator Coons, you talk about a lot, and that's national security. I see you, as I mentioned this morning when I kicked off (inaudible) talking about the three, Iran, Syria. And I want to talk about one of the bills that you mentioned on that video: wildlife trafficking. And it strikes me that this whole conversation today about how leading globally matters, and there's one that when I go around the country, people go, "Wait a minute, wildlife trafficking, development, humanitarian, national security." Help connect the dots because we all want to be good voices to explain this.

SENATOR COONS: There's a couple of different reasons that we should care about the dramatic rash of poaching that is wiping out rhinos and elephants and other iconic species across Africa. First, is just because they're gorgeous parts of creation. They're remarkable animals. Second, is because of who's killing them and why. And then third, is where those funds go. So, in countries that Senator Flake and I had a chance to visit together last year, in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia, you have organized poacher networks that are going in and killing elephants and rhinos and taking their tusks and horns, and then selling it through transnational criminal networks.

Because elephant tusk and rhino horn are worth more in some cases than a pound of gold or a pound of heroin. And the people who traffic in animal parts are also trafficking in drugs, in weapons, and in people. So, billions of dollars that's being generated by the slaughter of whole herds of elephants or dozens and dozens of rhinos are fueling organizations that then are also delivering weapons and support, whether it's Al Shabab or Boko Haram, whether they're driving instability in a particular country or (?) in a whole region, it's become mechanized and it's become global.

So, part of why Senator Flake and I have worked together on this and joined with co-sponsors in the House, and then joined with the Administration, and part of why there is still a necessary role for USAID and the Fish and Wildlife Service is to protect creation, is to protect the opportunity for future generations to see these majestic animals. But more than anything else, is to deny funding to some of the most deadly, transnational terrorist networks we know.

MS. SCHRAYER: I noticed that, Mark, your first trip to -- as Administrator, was to East Africa. You went right into the belly of the beast where it's been the most extreme famine, but also not just where there's famine, but where it's manmade conflict. Talk a little bit about why there, and again, this same conversation about where development, humanitarian crisis, and our national security are at risk.

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: So, that first trip was to Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia. Ethiopia was the good news story in a lot of ways. South Sudan and Sudan are the troubled lands. So, first off, in order to set the framework, there are 66 million displaced people in the world today. In 2016, that was 20 people per day who were displaced, and all of the challenges that go with displacement, unsettling, instability. The famines in the world these days, almost all of them are man-made famines, and so they require man-made solutions.

So, in Sudan and South Sudan, we were visiting some of the refugee camps and internally displaced persons camps, taking a look at the challenges that they face and the challenges that they cause, taking those on. But I mentioned that Ethiopia was a success story because in Ethiopia, although they're in the third consecutive year of drought, they're not in a famine. They have their challenges, but they're not in a famine. And the reason that they're not, quite frankly, is because of the generosity of all of you.

Investments that have been made in Feed the Future, which is our Global Food Security Act, or global food security legislation have kept the families, people, communities of Ethiopia out of complete destitution, and out of complete famine. And I saw some of those programs at work. Some of the resilience that we've developed in those challenged areas shows you what can be done with development tools. ... (inaudible)

MS. SCHRAYER: Can I ask one thing? That's one thing I want to ask both of you about, South Sudan, because I know (inaudible) at the refugee camps right outside of South Sudan, but one of the things that, Mark, you have been a very big part of, your mantra, is around corruption. You helped -- you were part of the legislation that created the Millennium Challenge Corporation, you were on the board, you're back on the board again.

In South Sudan, you had some pretty tough conversations, as I recall, with the leader of South Sudan, talking about, "You want our aid, you have to make sure that you treat it appropriately." Where does fighting corruption fit in? And Senator, I would ask you the same question.

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: Well, in some ways it ties back to what Chris mentioned earlier, when we take a look at these challenges, they all fit together. So, corruption, broad scale corruption, kleptocracy, if you will, is the way that authoritarian leaders fund their operations, also fund extremist voices, fund instability. So, it really does all fit together.

So, in South Sudan, I did, I had some very harsh words for President Kiir, it's the most dangerous place in the world for humanitarian workers, which is saying something. And visiting those camps you could see the dangers that they were facing. But also, being you have in President Kiir, a head of state who clearly has no regard whatsoever about the best interest or suffering of his people. And so, I went there to say "Look on behalf of the American government, more importantly on behalf of the American people, this can't go on and it won't go on." And that we need to reassess how we do our assistance to make sure that it is -- that it is going to those in need and not going to fund some of the policies that are causing so much suffering and pain.

SENATOR COONS: Three things about that quickly. First, in the last Congress, we passed, and the President signed into law, the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act. And a piece of that is making sure that we're making good on obligation. To help you understand how the tax dollars that fund foreign assistance are being spent. The second, I'm meeting with Salva Kiir. Chairman Corker and I went to Uganda over Easter weekend. I spent Easter Sunday in Juba in South Sudan visiting refugee camps, both in the capital and then several hours north, in one of the most desolate -- just absolutely desperate places I've ever seen, where children were deeply malnourished, and where there was a lot of violence and dislocation.

And being able to say to President Kiir that there was going to be accountability, and then come back and meet with the Secretary of the Treasury and press for sanctions on Salva Kiir, and some of the SPLA leaders and some of the folks most responsible for the dramatic human suffering there, is I think, an important piece of putting tools in place so that if there isn't any improvement, we're ready to take action. And I was very encouraged that Ambassador Nikki Haley, who's the administration's ambassador to the UN, also recently went to South Sudan, met with Salva Kiir, and delivered an even tougher version of the same message we did.

And I think it's time for us to step up and act against this uniquely abusive head of state. Let me (inaudible) on the comment you made, Mark, about resiliency. In Ethiopia, I had a chance to visit two years ago, and we went to a site funded by Feed the Future in partnership with DuPont, where we got to meet a whole group of small holder farmers in the Ethiopian highlands who had tripled, tripled their yield. So, the amount of maize or corn that they were able to produce, on very small plots, had nearly tripled in just a few years by moving to a DuPont-provided hybrid. Sorry, that's a shout out to a --(inaudible)

MS. SCHRAYER: It's okay. You're allowed.

SENATOR COONS: But that's one of the ways that we make real the promise of resiliency. So, when famine or when drought, excuse me, when drought comes back to Ethiopia, a new drought resistant strain that is appropriate for that particular area has been developed after a lot of work and a lot of investment. And that makes possible, folks who can live through it rather than starve.

So, there are things we can do to affect the condition of hundreds of millions of families across the continent. Feed the Future has prevented 500 million families from facing famine this year. We are making a difference with the leadership of Mark Green and other parts of USAID.

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: If I -- if I could just add. So, two points to add on to what you just said: first off, I think you've already recognized that this whole area that we're talking about is a safe zone politically. So, this is an area where Republicans and Democrats check partisan labels at the door. And we work together to try to create solutions, to try to ease human suffering. I look at every Administration in modern times as having contributed tools to this very important part of our foreign policy. I served under President Bush, the AIDS initiative, Millennium Challenge Corporation, which you heard about. President Obama's Power Africa, but in particular, Feed the Future.

These are tools that keep building onto American leadership, but are making a world of difference. I think Feed the Future has been a game changer, quite frankly, in American foreign policy, and I'm proud to support it. I'm looking for ways to expand it as much as I can.

Secondly, what you also heard about, is that we're trying to tap into the private sector to help us to create solutions. It's in the interest of those we're trying to serve, but it's also in our interest. The genius of our private sector, particularly working with the food security area, but also in the global health area, the only way that we're going to be successful, is if we can tap into and unleash the genius, the entrepreneurial spirit of those sectors, with DuPont and others. So that's something that we're devoting to doing more and more.

MS. SCHRAYER: So let me ask you both about this. There's a large contingent here from the business sector. They were our partners in helping put this together. Senator Coons, you created the Economic Growth and Development Act. And taking a look at how to make it easier for the business community, and the US government to work together. So, talk a little bit about what are some of the barriers that you saw, that inspired you to say, "Hey, we need some legislation to make it actually more effective for the business community and the United States Government to work together on this." And then Mark I want to ask you a follow-up question on that as well.

SENATOR COONS: There's two sides to this equation: one is that Africa has access to U.S. markets through something called AGOA, the African Growth and Opportunity Act, almost literally, one of Bill Clinton's last bills he signed into law. Republican Senator Johnny Isakson, and I, worked hard together to make sure that, through AGOA, there are both export opportunities for U.S. poultry into a number of countries in Africa, and --

MS. SCHRAYER: (Inaudible)

SENATOR COONS: I always get that in. And that there are opportunities for African countries to export to the United States. So far, South Africa has taken more advantage of the AGOA opportunity, than frankly, the whole rest of the continent combined. And on a bipartisan basis, we're committed to trying to do more capacity building so that there's more export opportunities that are going to help the private sector invest in Africa, and Africans lift themselves out of poverty.

But we also need to do more to ready small businesses in the United States, for the growing export opportunities of growing African markets. I'm on the Small Business Committee. My appropriations subcommittee funds the SBA. And there's a lot more we can, and should do, with the African diaspora community in the United States, with small businesses that have the opportunity to export. In an increasingly interconnected globalized world, there are real opportunities for the United States to take advantage of several of our competitive opportunities here, a diaspora community, robust capital markets, now stronger and stronger linkages, both digital and data, and in terms of export opportunities.

And those are things I'm looking forward to working on, in partnership with Republican friends in Congress, in this next year.

MS. SCHRAYER: So that's fabulous. Mark, one of the things that you said is you want to transform, and even take it to the next level, public-private partnerships. There are, I think I can remember, right about 1,600 give or -- you know, maybe there's a little less, a little more, public-private partnerships between -- at USAID. And Pfizer talked about it already, on the program earlier today. Coca Cola was here, a representative, talking about it today.

And a lot of times when I travel I hear, "Why can't the private sector just do it alone?" "What is it that government can do?" And you have often talked about government can leverage, so that private sector can bring it to scale in impact. Talk about what your vision is of what you can do at USAID for the private sector to bring (inaudible). Because here's a Senator who wants all his businesses to take advantage of it.

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: And they are. That's good. No, we want to expand it, even more broadly. So, part of what I want to do, is lower the cost of participating. So, I want to create more opportunity, particularly for small businesses, and I agree that's really where the opening is, where the juice is, and make it easier for small business, small NGOs, small academic institutions to participate in program design, in program implementation.

So, what we want to do is move beyond traditional contracting and grant making, we'll still do both of those, but move towards collaboration. So, bringing in the private sector earlier in the process to help in program design, to help us in co-financing, and in risk-sharing, to make it easier for small businesses to participate in the process. You really need the new ideas the private sector, and small businesses, in particular, represent if we're going to meet our ambitious goals.

MS. SCHRAYER: Can I ask you on this financing? You mentioned earlier this morning about your interest. You have a piece of legislation that you're getting off the ground about development financing. One of the things that has come up a lot today is the word China. They are out there. In Africa, alone, over the last decade, 780 percent increase in their development assistance. We can't even track all the amount of money in the world they're putting in. Where does development finance come in from your point of view? Why are you focused it?

SENATOR COONS: The United States has a badly outdated development finance system that is split up between several different entities and agencies. USAID has a piece of it. OPIC has a piece of it. USTDA, the Trade Development Administration, has a piece of it. Commerce has a little piece of it. It's scattered. It's not particularly focused. And it is dramatically outsized by our competitors in this space, both European, and Asian.

So, I'd first like to modernize the authorities that are available to the administration as a tool for development finance. I'd like to make sure that our development finance efforts are tightly aligned with what USAID is doing so that we don't have development out here, and financing over here. And it's something that has to be available to companies of all scale in the United States, development finance export in particular. EXIM and OPIC financing have been very helpful to a number of large American manufacturing companies, but haven't been as broadly accessible to small companies.

As I look at Africa and China's role, I'm very concerned that there was a more than decade long effort -- remember Bono and the ONE Campaign got started really as a debt relief effort for the Millennium. So, there were many countries on the continent and across the developing world that had loaded up with debt, that wasn't appropriately managed or serviced, that began to crowd out investment in public health, and in education. And there was a lot of debt forgiven in the early parts of this century.

Now countries are reemerging. They are taking on new debt, significant amounts of debt, that is from China, and with different terms and for different purposes. In the 27 African countries I've visited, I'm struck that everywhere the Chinese are present. They're investing. They're engaging. As was referenced in an earlier panel, I remember being in Benin, I think it was, where there was a hospital fully funded by the People's Republic of China, Chinese letters on the front, and inside, doctors, nurses, and medication all funded by the United States. And the folks we met who were going in and out of that hospital, had no idea the United States was providing the vast majority of the assistance for public health in that country.

We need to align our partnerships with countries on the continent more closely with their development goals, which I think we've done a good job of. But we also need to realize that in terms of leadership on the continent, our skills and our strengths are private sector, and our public investment really can lead us to being the central partner for developing for Africa for this century, but only if we step up our game. And I think development finance is going to be a key piece of that.

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: About to say. And this is one of those areas where I think the stars are lining up. Senator Coons' legislation I think is a great idea. President Trump, actually, just in Vietnam hours -- we need to figure out the time zones.

MS. SCHRAYER: Thirty-six hours ago.

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: Has talked about the importance of reforming development finance. So, I think the time is right. And the way that you just heard him describe, I think is completely on point, is extraordinarily important. But it is, it is about debt. It's also about lines on extractives. What happens is China comes in, offers a lot of money up front, no conditions up front. But the back-end conditions, the fine print, are dangerous and I think are going to lead to tremendous frustration, actually leading to servitude, because you're going to see future generations in these countries look and see that they've lost the value of natural resources that are their birthright.

So, it's very, very important. I know it's not something that necessarily gets lots of attention. But if we can take this on, I think it'll have a tremendous important difference around the world.

MS. SCHRAYER: Yeah. It definitely feels like the stars are aligning. And you have led it. There's a similar piece of legislation in the House by a Republican Congressman. And it was nice to hear President Trump make a comment.

I want to pick up on an issue that -- it's been a passion of both of yours. And that's something you again referenced this morning: and that's the Reach Act. And it's an issue that is around global health, around maternal and child health. Talk about why it's so important. It's come up on both of the panels already this morning. But why investing in fighting women -- for women and girl's health is such a priority, and whether we can get it over the finish line this year or maybe next year.

MS. SCHRAYER: Certainly this Congress. And whether USAID is ready to partner. And I'm sure the answer is going to be yes, but how?

SENATOR COONS: There's eight bipartisan co-sponsors. Senator Susan Collins of Maine is my lead co-sponsor on the Reach Act. And it's something we've worked on now several congresses in a row. And there's a couple of reasons why this is important to do. And, the first and foremost, is just caring for our fellow human beings. There's 16,000 children a day who die of completely preventable reasons, where for very small investments in remote villages around the continent of Africa, around the developing world, we could be saving lives with demonstrated technologies that cost pennies per delivery, and can dramatically change the outcome of difficult deliveries, first.

Second, in development, investing in women and girls is the smartest investment you can make. In country after country, in study after study, a marginal dollar invested in sending girls to school, and in giving women economic power. has dramatic consequences. It's embarrassing to admit as a male, but across the continent, if you give a man and a woman exactly the same acreage and inputs, the woman will produce at least 10 percent more. And where women have more money, they send their kids to school. They invest in their community.

MS. SCHRAYER: Some of us here aren't that surprised.

SENATOR COONS: And, you know, so the reality is if we're going to invest a little extra money in promoting peace and stability, in promoting human -- the human condition, and addressing poverty, making sure that women give birth to healthy children is the single, smartest investment we can make.

And then last, it's how people see America. I want us to be known as the country that helps affect the most vulnerable moment a family has, which is the moment of birth and invest in wise ways to make healthy births possible.

MS. SCHRAYER: Thank you for your leadership (applause). USAID has made this a priority for a long time. Is there anything new that you're looking forward to adding to the -- to the issue on global health?

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: Well, let me sort of broaden some of the reason why it's such a good idea. First off, let's invest a little bit up front or invest a lot later on. In terms of fostering self-reliance in families, in communities, in countries, that's a goal that we should all have. We want countries to shape their own future. It's hard for them to do that when they have so many people who are suffering, when they see so many children not being able to realize their potential due to lack of access to basic nutrition, lack of access to healthcare, lack of access to education.

So, you know, it is cost-effective in that sense, but also from a national security perspective. If you leave communities to be taken over by despair and hopelessness, you make them vulnerable to the worst kinds of influences in the world, criminal influences, violent extremist influences. And so, if we're really going to make this world a safer place, if we're really going to take on as a generational challenge, violent extremism, we have to make these investments.

MS. SCHRAYER: Great. Let's take questions from the audience. So, line up. And again, I'll reiterate what my other fellow moderator said: please no speeches. While you're getting up there, I'm going to ask -- you know your constituents -- I'm going to ask one while people are walking up.

You know, we're a coalition that advocates around making sure there's effective resources. And you mentioned this morning there was a proposal to cut about a third of the budget. Where do you see that going forward? The Congress has been very, very clear from the Freedom Caucus to the Progressive Caucus, "Nope, we are not for that."

We're about 12 days, 10 days left in the legislative cycle. Are they going to push back and make sure there's resources for all these programs that we're talking about, Senator?

SENATOR COONS: Well, the end of the year is going to be a cliffhanger, yet again. And we're just a few days on the legislative calendar from the December 8 expiration of our current continuing resolution. So, in the absence of some broader agreement, the Federal government shuts down December 8. I don't expect that to happen. But in the seven years that I've been in the Senate, and in the years I've been serving on both Budget and Appropriations, I haven't seen a cycle this broken --

MS. SCHRAYER: Yeah.

SENATOR COONS: -- which is saying something. The State and Foreign Ops Subcommittee on which I serve, that sets this coming year's budget for USAID and the State Department, we've had a markup on a bipartisan basis. Senator Graham of South Carolina, Senator Leahy of Vermont, and other committee members agreed on an acceptable level of funding for State and USAID.

But I am hopeful that we will increase it because we've got, as you've heard, famines in a number of countries. We've got a record amount of refugees. Currently, we are facing literally the worst humanitarian crisis since the Second World War. And the world is looking to the United States, for engagement and leadership. And we've got underfunded pledges in most of these countries. So, we won't know until probably --

MS. SCHRAYER: Isn't it Christmas Eve?

SENATOR COONS: I'm predicting we'll be there Christmas Eve. But there is strong bipartisan support for --

MS. SCHRAYER: Thanks largely to your leadership.

SENATOR COONS: -- fully funding State and USAID.

MS. SCHRAYER: All right. We'll come back. I have a question on that for Mark. But why don't we take these two. And again, as brief as possible, since there's a long line. Yes, please.

QUESTION: Thank you so much (inaudible).

MS. SCHRAYER: You have to talk a little louder.

QUESTION: (inaudible) to Senator Coons for this meeting. And I'm so glad that you spoke about AGOA. It is so disheartening that 17 years since (inaudible). I'm from Kenya. My wife and I are here, trying to see how we can together (inaudible)African Growth and Opportunity Act to (inaudible). How can we get that assistance through the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition?

SENATOR COONS: Great question

QUESTION: Senator Coons, it's good to see you. I hope you are a fan of the Wildcats of the alumni for the University of Arizona.

South Sudan, a possibility of (inaudible). Are they helpful? Are they good to actually save lives in Southern Sudan? President Teshome of Ethiopia. What contributions are they making for civilizations (inaudible)?

MS. SCHRAYER: Good questions.

SENATOR COONS: Let me briefly, to South Sudan, you know, we get, with the regional group, has made good noises, hosted a number of meetings, but frankly has been disappointing in terms of their engagement. And part of the message that I delivered, I think Mark delivered, I think Ambassador Haley delivered, was to our regional partners that we need their engagement as well.

To give credit where credit is due, Uganda has been tremendously welcoming of refugees from South Sudan, has given refugees freedom to travel, and has given them access to land, has welcomed them in a way that few countries in the world do, to such a dramatic refugee -- but, Ethiopia has also been welcoming and supportive of refugees.

But, our goal is not to have the region welcome refugees. Our goal is to stabilize South Sudan and the violence. We need pressure from Sudan, from Ethiopia, from Uganda. But we also need leadership, by the elected president. The folks who led to an independent South Sudan after decades of conflict, should not now be presiding over the collapse of the nation that is the most newly independent in the world.

As for Kenya and AGOA, I do think that there are real opportunities, particularly in fabrics and garments, in Ethiopia, in Uganda and in Kenya. And I'd be happy to have an opportunity to talk further with the gentleman. There's people from my office here.

One of our challenges is connecting the diaspora community in the United States with opportunities on the continent. When Secretary Clinton was Secretary, I pressed for specific conferences around diaspora opportunities. It's something I think we should be looking at, both in terms of financing, in terms of things that Commerce, AID, and State d, and as a way to help communicate the value of capitalism in a truly free and democratic society. Two countries where many here and many across our country have family connections.

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: On AGOA, I agree with everything that Chris just said. I think we're looking for ways, to again, lower the barriers for participation. Quite frankly, I don't think the U.S. does as well -- that's reaching out to its diaspora community, as some of our donor partners do. We need to do a better job of that.

First off, there are obvious connections and family ties that, I think, participation is much more likely in those communities. Secondly, it's also harnessing the strength and the son of immigrants. What we see, as new Americans, oftentimes have the zeal of confidence in terms of ideas and energy towards partnerships around the world. I think we need to do a better job of that than we are.

Secondly, with respect to South Sudan, right around now is when the High-Level Revitalization Forum is taking place with the group that Chris mentioned. And I think we all want to see it succeed. It's a good idea. I think everyone's patience is running thin though. And this simply cannot continue to go on. Chris was clear. I was clear. Ambassador Haley. The U.S. is running out of patience as the world is. This is not only a failing state. It is a humanitarian outrage and catastrophe. And we have no choice as Americans, I think to care and find some ways to change the trajectory.

MS. SCHRAYER: All right. Yes, please.

QUESTION: Hello. My name is (inaudible) and I have a brief question. According to research done in 2014 by (inaudible) over 84 percent of millennials have done charitable donations, including at least an hour of community service. And, however, some of us have, across several of -- not being able to do or are unable to do things like bringing (inaudible) programs.

So, my question is, how do we find ways to help out on the ground, and if people are capable of going more person to person, how do you reciprocate the aid, and more importantly, (inaudible) recommendations that we are trying to help. Thank you very much.

MS. SCHRAYER: Great. Terrific questions. Great. Yes.

QUESTION: Good afternoon. My name is (inaudible). I'm a forensic social worker and (inaudible). And it is an organization that was formed to address the vexing issue of deportation to countries that really cannot afford what is happening, countries in the Caribbean, Latin America, and Africa.

And I would like to know, what is the leadership, the U.S. global leadership in particular, USAID, how can you work with grassroots organizations (inaudible). So, I would really like to know that, please.

MS. SCHRAYER: Sure. Mark you get the second one?

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: Sure. With respect to the drivers and displacement of families, there are a number of them that depends on the part of the world. But in all cases, that I'm aware of, they're fleeing something. In Central America, in particular, we're working hard to take on some of the drivers that cause unaccompanied minors, for example go 1,000 miles to some of the most horrendous conditions on Earth.

So, we're taking citizen security. We're helping local leaders take on organized crime, drug trafficking, some of the challenges that they see that destroy communities and again are driving irregular migration.

In the Horn of Africa, it is conflict that is driving so much of this. Look, all of this matters to everyone involved. It is extraordinarily important that we take these challenges on. The movements of people, again 66 million displaced right now are destabilizing, both the country for which people come, and the country potentially to which they go.

So, I think for national security, as well as humanitarian reasons, we have to take on conditions in both areas in countries that are receiving asylum seekers, refugees, irregular migrants. We're trying to help take on some of the service needs that are there on a humanitarian level. And in the driver countries, where the conflicts are, taking on the drivers, the conflicts themselves as well as crime.

But this is challenging the very model through which all of our assistance goes. So, traditionally it's bilateral, we go country by country. But right now, as Chris alluded to, if you're trying to provide help to South Sudanese, you got to go to Uganda because there are 1.4 million South Sudanese in Uganda.

And so, you can see what this is doing. It's destroying the very model that we're all used to. So, it is among the most urgent challenges facing America today, as well as the world. And it's something that we have to take on, because if we fail to, we're at risk of losing an entire generation to potential exploitation.

SENATOR COONS: And the question about service and millennials, the millennial generation has shown a real passion for engaging in service and a real global sensibility. Conveniently, I just introduced a bill called --

(Laughter)

SENATOR COONS: -- the Action for National Service. Some of you are familiar with AmeriCorps or with Peace Corps, and with other nonmilitary national service opportunities. We've got a real crisis in the United States, in terms of the affordability of higher education and our cohesion as a country. Our ability to hear each other, and respect each other across differences that are regional, or partisan, or ethnic, or differences of religion, or experience.

And in my view, one of the things we can and should do, is provide more opportunities for young Americans, who want to serve to do so -- in the military and in the civilian world, overseas and at home. We've got a lot of needs here at home that could be very well-addressed by young volunteer Americans, who can then earn a college opportunity as a result of their service to their country.

This is an idea, I think, deserves bipartisan support. I've been working with other senators to try and strengthen it. Our enduring monument to former Senator -- late Senator Ted Kennedy -- is the Edward M. Kennedy National Service Act. We've never fully funded the number of service opportunities that young people apply for. On the most competitive college campuses in America, when there's a recruitment night for AmeriCorps or for the Peace Corps, you'll have five or 10 people show up for every available slot. I think we should be investing and giving the next generation of young patriots, who want to serve our country at home and abroad, the opportunity to do so.

MS. SCHRAYER: Hear hear.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) So, there's a lot of fraud and scandal (inaudible) overseas -- not specifically in Africa, but certain (inaudible) places. When you ask local businesses to look in engaging in global trade like that, what specific resources are available to help those local businesses establish the credibility of the companies that they might (inaudible) making their work with these other companies?

MS. SCHRAYER: All right. Great. Thank you. And, please.

QUESTION: Yeah. Thank you to the panel. I think it's (inaudible). I would like to share an experience, when I went to Africa last month. So, (inaudible) and there was a business order.

And we tried to go back home and tried to help (inaudible) the business environment there, because there's too much competition there. So, what we did, we tried to import U.S. products there, you know, renewable energy here. And then, when we got there, it was so hard to get through the government system, because providing energy supplies there is a big contract there.

So, we had a hard time. Now, we want to -- we tried to go through the U.S. embassy and (inaudible). But unfortunately, they could not help us because we went through the (inaudible) Power Africa program (inaudible) it's already in Ghana and Ethiopia. So, my question is, how we as a business owner in here, we can address the situation to you guys here that help us, because we're planning to organize an international conference on renewable energy in Africa?

MS. SCHRAYER: That one may be very -- that may be too specific for the public arena. If it is, maybe one of you can talk with him.

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: Well, Chris is a huge champion and leader of Power Africa as well.

MS. SCHRAYER: Yeah.

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: I'll defer to him. But one of the things that you're pointing to -- so, we also incentivize policy reforms in the countries in which we work to make it easier for businesses and outsiders to be able to participate. Secondly, there was some question earlier about the role that USAID can play in private sector engagement. One of them is convenience.

So, we can help you craft opportunities and -- by bringing partners together, create relationships and opportunities that help you to be able to participate. So, you know, you're not going to know businesses in many of these countries -- we can help pull them together through the framework of Feed the Future and food security, Power Africa and energy production distribution. And that's one way that should make it easier.

MS. SCHRAYER: We'll talk about --

SENATOR COONS: The other question was about rule of law and how do you know that you're dealing with a legitimate counterpart or contractor, if you're selling goods or services, or entering into a contract. And I think the questions are also connected in some way. How do American folks here, who want to participate in exporting renewable energy technology, do so successfully, and how do businesses, more broadly, partner in Africa?

You know, first, the risk of fraud, the risk of entering into a contract with another company, that doesn't meet their commitments, is a risk everywhere you do business in the world. But this is part of what U.S. law enforcement and the U.S. Department of Commerce provide through our embassies around the world.

In a number of countries in the developing world, I've met with the United States Chamber of Commerce, the AmCham in that country, and we've got folks from U.S. law enforcement in -- embedded in embassies around the world. And more importantly, we've also got the U.S. foreign commercial services in many embassies around the world, that can help with market studies before you begin to explore the opportunity, that can help with access to risk insurance through OPIC and financing through EXIM, before you begin to enter into an agreement.

And then last, you know, understanding the context of the country where you're doing business. What's the rule of law really like? If there is some issue of fraud or some failure to deliver on a commitment, are you going to have the opportunity to go to court and to seek reimbursement or not -- because not every country has robust and transparent legal systems.

Part of what I think is a piece of our development financing infrastructure going forward is to help companies in the United States better understand and better account for the risk involved in going after particular opportunities. I'll just reference one example that has been present in this conference in the past.

There's a small metal bridge company in Central Pennsylvania, Acrow Bridge, that got their start building bridges across rivers in Western Europe during the Second World War, where U.S. troops would come upon a river -- the Germans would have blown up the bridges. They had a very small modular pontoon bridge system. Yeah. And guess what today they are exporting? They've gotten contracts in countries throughout Central Africa -- Cameroon, for example. And they have been galvanizing their bridges, here in Delaware, and exporting them out of ports -- whether Wilmington, Philadelphia, or New Jersey.

Without the assistance of U.S. Foreign Commercial Service and the Export-Import Bank, and OPIC, they likely wouldn't have taken on the risks of selling -- but they've now made billions of dollars, and employed people in Pennsylvania and in Delaware, in what is a small family business that keeps selling small modular bridges for places in the developing world, where there aren't bridges that can survive the rainy season.

They've made a difference in small towns in rural Ghana and Cameroon --

MS. SCHRAYER: Good story.

SENATOR COONS: -- in a way that I think shows what the U.S. government, in partnership with the private sector, can do.

MS. SCHRAYER: That's a great story.

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: Can I just add --

MS. SCHRAYER: Yeah.

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: -- a point to that? So, earlier, Chris talked about development finance legislation, being able to pull together the different agencies that would make it easier, less confusing. So, there's essentially one place to go. Secondly, if you wonder about any country, the World Bank is doing business indicators. You can go to its website, and it will show you what some of the barriers are in each of these countries for startups.

And finally, where I hope that USAID will get to in the next several months is, in most of the sectors where we're working, in many of the countries where we're working, we'll do what are known as broad agency announcements. And what that will do is say, "Look, we've got this money available for this country for this kind of a challenge. Are you interested?" It will only require two pages to express a statement of interest, and that should get the conversation going to help lower those barriers.

MS. SCHRAYER: Fantastic. Let's do this. Let's take the last three comments, real brief, and we'll let the two of them wrap up. Please.

QUESTION: Thank you. My name is David (inaudible). I'm an adjunct professor at Temple University, but I also run an NGO (inaudible). My question is, as I look across the continent, and probably some other developing countries, one of the impediments, really, to development is execution. A lot of people -- most people in the country (inaudible). And the people that get into power know you can do anything that you want. At the end they, will go back. They will buy them bag a rice and some money, and they get elected -- and sometimes not even fairly elected. So, I think, for development, in these developing countries, education should be forefront.

MS. SCHRAYER: Thank you.

QUESTION: And what is, if any, the United States is doing to address that?

MS. SCHRAYER: Great. Thank you. And the last two?

QUESTION: My name is (inaudible) in Africa. And my question today is not about smart investment, but it's related to leadership in Africa. I'm from Kenya. So, we (inaudible) we had an election that was nullified by the Supreme Court. And there will be criticism of the developing countries, especially U.S., for promoting businesses whereby you just want injustices (inaudible).

MS. SCHRAYER: Thank you.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) we appreciate it. Could you elaborate on what exactly we're doing to stop wildlife trafficking? This is just better arming park rangers or just pouring money, like into those areas, and does it extend it outside of Africa to places like Asia and South America?

MS. SCHRAYER: Okay. All right.

SENATOR COONS: I'll try to do those briefly in order and --

MS. SCHRAYER: Okay.

SENATOR COONS: So, we are contributing a relatively modest amount of money compared to the scale of the problem of wildlife trafficking. What I think is one of our most effective intervention is in training. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the law enforcement agency responsible for fish and wildlife in every state in the United States, are now doing joint training with leaders who are engaged in wildlife protection, the park service, the park rangers, from all across the continent.

I've met with them several times. Just a few weeks ago, at National Geographic headquarters, there was a gathering of some of the leaders in wildlife protection on the continent, and through the fish and wildlife services. So they're helping at the most fundamental level with law enforcement tools. For instance, what's the best equipment? How do you cover a massive amount of territory with a very small number of people? Should you arm your patrols or not? How do you train them? How do you clear snares? How do you engage the human community? That's at the most sort of law enforcement base level.

At a higher-level, USAID, and I'll encourage Mark to talk about it, is recognizing that while we may view from the distance of the United States, an elephant or a rhinoceros as this majestic creature, for a small-holder farmer the elephant is tearing up their crops and is terrorizing their kids and is annoying their animals. So, go talk to a rancher in Montana about the reintroduction of the great wolf. They feel about the same.

So, if you don't get human development moving in the right direction, if food security and if opportunity for women and girls, and human health aren't moving in the right direction, you're going to have humans poaching animals because they view them as a nuisance, a threat, and an opportunity to make money. And frankly, when you've got people living on the edge, you can't blame them, because if an elephant that's walking through their farm fields is worth tens of thousands of dollars to a poacher, and a trafficker, and is only harming them and their family, you're asking an awful lot to ask them to simply let the elephant keep majestically trampling the crops that they'll use to feed their children.

So, engaging human development, which is a lot of what USAID does, in partnership with wildlife conservation, is something we are investing in, at the park level, at the national level, and regionally, first.

Second, as to the election in Kenya, I just met with Raila Odinga, this past week. I am urging that the government of Kenya not interfere with the Supreme Court, and that the rule of law be respected. It is important that emerging democracies, like Kenya, have full participation from civil society that there be a respect for the rule of law, and that there be an independence to the electoral process.

I believe our ambassador has been very engaged. USAID and other entities of the U.S. government have been engaged over several election cycles in investing, not just in opposing violence, but in promoting civil society, and promoting the machinery of elections and ultimately of democracy. This is difficult work. It is taking a generation. Many were encouraged that the Supreme Court felt empowered to challenge the election, but then discouraged about Odinga's party's choice not to participate in the next election thus leading to a very one-sided result.

The Liberian Supreme Court has also taken an unprecedented step. I view the independence of the court systems across the continent from an encouraging lens. I think it is a good thing that you've got courts that are willing to review elections, but we've got a long journey ahead in terms of providing unstable and predictable elections on the continent.

MS. SCHRAYER: And also on education.

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: Sure. On the education front, two things I'd point out. Number one, recognizing how we spend education dollars really matters. Two examples: President Kikwete in Tanzania, when I served as ambassador announced they're building 3,000 primary schools. It's great. They had no teachers, but they have schools. And so, investing in quality teachers making sure that they have the education and training and background and tools they need I think is key.

Secondly, I keep coming back to the displaced communities challenge. Think about this. How do you provide education to a generation that was either born or raised in a refugee camp coming and going all the time? If we don't take this on I think we are going to pay the price years from now.

Secondly on education, first off, Kenyan education is close to both of us from our backgrounds. I was a teacher in Kenya. You know, in terms of democracy, citizen responsiveness in governance is vitally important. I don't believe there are other (inaudible) sustainable. I don't believe that we'll get the value of those investments in terms of rising generation if we don't invest there in democracy, so that whatever we do, is driven by the needs of people.

In terms of the wildlife side, conservation side, something that I always remember, Jane Goodall, one of Tanzania's best known, what she did to ensure the survival of the Gull May Stream Park, is invest outside of the park and her argument was that it was improving the livelihoods of the families living just outside the park would guarantee the survival of the park itself. If you take a look at Gorongosa Park in Mozambique, and Greg Carr, philanthropist investments that he's making, a lot of it is in governance. A lot of it is an economic development. A lot of it is changing the attitudes of the families, the communities around the park so that they don't view that elephant crossing the path as either an enemy or a source of food, but as an investment that will improve their own fortunes. I think that's vitally important.

And then finally, in terms of what USAID is doing specifically, several things when it comes to the global problem or trafficking, is making sure that we change attitudes around the world. Secondly, it's also investing in the countries that are the drivers, so it's having programs in China, in southeast Asia, which have often been the largest purchasers of wildlife trafficking trophies, and then it's equipping and financing the forest park ranger, making sure that they have the tools that they need, and training that they need on the ground to tackle problems.

MS. SCHRAYER: Let me close with this. I wanted -- you two are besides the most passionate and skilled and knowledgeable, you're both also two --

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: We should stop right there.

MS. SCHRAYER: I know. (Laughter)

I'm going to give you one more. You both also happen to be two of the most optimistic people that I know, and when we kicked off this half-a-day of exploration, I want to come back a year from now and say you know what? That day meant something, that we actually kicked off a conversation where something happened to make it better. So, think ahead a year from now. Share one story, one vision, one hope, one something from you of what do we hope will have happened a year from now that will say that day when we met in Delaware meant something? Mark.

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: I'll give you a story from my recent trip to Ethiopia that I think brings a lot of this together. We participated in a food distribution. Again, the part of Ethiopia that we were in, the Somali region, tremendous challenges with drought. As we were distributing grain, a woman who was sitting next to the sack of grain, her family had just gotten stock in and she said, "I have a question for you." The question that she asked was, "You know, this is great, can you help us with irrigation so we never have to do this again?" And I thought that's it. She's got it. If we can build our programs around that attitude, which I think is inherent in any human being, (inaudible) take care of their family and if we can all talk about ways that we can lift that attitude up, and put it in our programming and put it in what we do, then I think we change everything.

MS. SCHRAYER: Fabulous. Senator?

SENATOR COONS: Thank you, Liz. Thank you, Mark. Thank you for spending your morning with us. My hope is that by a year from now, you will have had an additional positive experience from someone you've met here today, from an organization you connected with that was displaying here, from something you heard out of the conversation, that you've been more inspired and encouraged, and that you'll be more engaged.

That you'll speak up about the value, whether it's Senator Carper or Congresswoman Blunt Rochester or me, whether it's our former Vice President, or our Governor; that you'll speak up to folks in elected office and say, "I value our place in the world." I value the investments we're making in improving the human condition, and in delivering the stability that will lead to progress for democracy and for human rights around the world.

It's my hope that you'll give us feedback about what today was like and whether you will recommend participating in this conference, if we do it again next year. How could it be different, so that the opportunities you hoped for here are real by a year from now?

And then, last, we were talking over lunch about legislation I really want to get done. I hope a year from now, I can come back and report to you that a bipartisan group of us, from the Trump administration, to the Senate, to the House, have been able to move legislation, that helps make real, some the aspirations that have been inspired by our conversations today. That's what I hope for a year from today.

Last updated: November 15, 2017

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