Good morning. It is my great pleasure to be here today on behalf of the United States Agency for International Development! I bring you greetings from the U.S. Ambassador to Zambia, Mr. Eric Schultz, and thank the Honorable Given Lubinda, Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, for opening this important two-day event. And I am delighted to note that the important innovations developed over the last four years through this program are the result of cooperative efforts between international and Zambian scientists, working together, in Zambia, to help the Zambian people.
USAID established the Philippine-American Fund - or the Phil-Am Fund - just over a year ago. It is a $24 million grant facility and to date, we have awarded grants to twelve deserving Filipino civil society organizations.
Days ago the United Nations agreed on a Post-2015 Development Agenda with 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs). Two weeks earlier, agreement was reached on the Addis Ababa Action Agenda for financing those inspiring and very ambitious goals. In many ways, Vietnam has become a model for the MDGs and it did so in collaboration with important development partners, including the US, and with the support of many international NGOs, including many based in the US. Today we should celebrate how that came to be, so that we can do even better on our new shared agenda.
Our Power Africa initiative has been leveraging private capital to invest in electrification all across the continent. And our preliminary goal was 10,000 megawatts; now we’re looking at 30,000 megawatts, and we’re well on our way.
On behalf of the U.S. Government, I would like to congratulate The Mind Museum for the launch of “A Glass of the Sea”: An exhibition on the Coral Triangle.
We are here at a pivotal moment in history. The world today faces increasingly complex challenges, from the worst refugee crisis since World War II to a changing climate. These challenges span across borders, and impact all sectors… They are too complex for traditional approaches… They are too enormous for any single funding stream to address alone, especially given our limited resources... And, the world’s population is projected to grow to 9 billion by 2050, putting an even greater strain on those resources. So, as we begin down our path to meet the future sustainable development goals, we must seek solutions that help us catalyze further investment, and make the most out of every single resource available to us.
Yesterday, I had the honor of joining Commissioner Mimica and Secretary Lew as they signed our joint commitment to supporting Africa’s power sector, which included an impressive financial commitment of $2.8 billion in grants for sustainable energy activities over the next five years. And, later today, Director-General Petri Gornitzka and I will sign a memorandum of understanding that solidifies Sweden’s commitment to catalyze more than $1 billion in investments to support Power Africa. These commitments will make our partnerships with the European Union and Sweden even stronger. And, they will keep us on a path toward achieving Power Africa’s goals of adding 30,000 megawatts of additional power capacity and bringing electricity to 60 million households and businesses across sub-Saharan Africa.
The United States shares the African Union’s strong commitment to agricultural development and global food security, and we are proud to stand with you as partners in this important work. That is because we know what supporting agriculture and nutrition can do for a country and its people. Growth in the agricultural sector is at least twice as effective at reducing poverty as growth in other sectors. So, when President Obama called on leaders around the world to end global hunger and poverty, he emphasized agriculture as the best path to reach that goal. This is the idea behind the program—Feed the Future. Inspired by the African Union’s work through CAADP, Feed the Future promotes country-owned approaches and supports new opportunities and technologies for small-holder farmers.
Of course, we face a difficult road ahead. The new cases of Ebola discovered in Liberia just last week are a sobering reminder of the need for continued vigilance. Our response infrastructure is working, but we are not done yet. Still, when we look back at the past year, it is clear we have made substantial progress… New cases in the West African region are at about 20 per week, down from over 100 just four months ago. Without a doubt, the reason we have seen such results is because we stood as a united front in combating the disease.
The Philippines has experienced challenging times especially for those affected by natural calamities. Our experience with Super Typhoon Yolanda was a reminder on how disasters can impact our lives and hinder progress. As the Philippines is frequented by typhoons and other natural calamities, it is important that the national and local governments plan and prepare to minimize vulnerabilities and remain resilient.
Last updated: November 24, 2015