2021 Speeches

Speeches Shim

Last updated: October 27, 2021

October 27, 2021

Thanks to Congress’ support, USAID and interagency partners have made great strides in the fight against COVID-19. But so much more remains to be done to end the pandemic and build back better. We will not be able to do this alone. USAID, in coordination with our interagency partners, is working closely with other donor governments, multilateral institutions, as well as philanthropic and the private sectors as our collective efforts are the only way we will be able to secure a future free of COVID-19.

We are entering the most operationally intensive year of the global response. Vaccine producers will increasingly supply low-income countries and COVAX in the coming months. We still foresee significant gaps and supply risks - several flagship vaccines continue to face production challenges that have delayed scale-up, and India’s export restrictions have been only marginally relaxed. We nonetheless expect that the supply outlook for lower-income countries will start to improve somewhat as we enter 2022. But with only three percent of low-income and only 36 percent of middle-income countries’ populations having received at least one vaccine dose, next year will require unprecedented outreach to successfully get shots into arms.

October 27, 2021

Around the world, the compounding effects of conflict, climate change, and the COVID-19 pandemic are driving record levels of humanitarian need. At the same time, the operational challenges created by these same drivers of need are making the delivery of aid more challenging —the number of people we can reach with the same level of resources is declining. According to the United Nations (UN) Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), 235 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance and protection in 2021. This constitutes a 40 percent increase in need over the 2020 level, which senior UN officials assess is almost entirely attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the pandemic has impacted each humanitarian sector differently (a few of which I will highlight below), we have consistently seen that communities affected by conflict or disasters are particularly susceptible to the spread of COVID-19 and its impacts—the populations we reach are often displaced, and many lack access to food and the basic services that are critical for preventing and mitigating disease outbreaks. This pandemic has had disparate impacts on already vulnerable or marginalized groups, including women and girls, children, and people with disabilities. In addition to providing life-saving assistance to populations in need, we are also making targeted investments in the international humanitarian system to effectively respond to public health emergencies in even the most challenging operational contexts.

October 22, 2021

In terms of comparative advantages, I think, well, let me say one other thing, which is USAID, actually, has really built out over many years. More than I had understood before I took this wonderful job, its capacity for working with the private sector. And it does that both at headquarters. We have the wonderful Michael Meltzer in charge of our private sector hub. But most impressively, it's kind of scrappy USAID mission staff out in the real world, cooking up private sector partnerships to grow smallholder, small landholding farm products and bringing them to market in rural Guatemala, in the western highlands of Guatemala. Where USAID bears the risk on the front end with a modest investment; maybe it's just $500,000. But that's enough for the private sector to say, okay, well if you're bearing the risk, why don't we come in. And then lo and behold, you get an order of magnitude. More than what the farmers were doing before such a modest investment by us, that is leveraged to produce three, four, five times as much for the farmer. And then that, in turn, gets leveraged to bring resources back to the community because of the sales on the market.

October 21, 2021

USAID has already developed a pipeline of $10 billion worth of deals in various stages that promote two-way trade through the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). And today, I’m pleased to announce a new effort: the USAID Africa Trade and Investment program. This will deliver billions of dollars in new exports and investments and thousands of new jobs within the next five years. The Africa Trade and Investment program will be our flagship private sector effort over the next several years, establishing new USAID-supported satellite offices to encourage investments in North and sub-Saharan Africa, while also working with local policymakers to design and implement regulations and reforms to improve the investment climate.

October 21, 2021

As an Agency that addresses the world’s toughest challenges, no challenge poses a greater threat to our planet than climate change. The scientific record is clear that carbon pollution is heating our planet -- threatening our health, safety, economy, and security. As the overwhelming scientific consensus in the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report confirmed, if unchecked, the consequences of climate change will be catastrophic to life in the United States and in every country on the planet. A blanket of pollution has been created around the earth. This blanket traps heat and is dangerously heating the planet. Even if the world bands together to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero tomorrow, the impacts of climate change are already here and are not going away - from punishing storms and devastating floods to grueling droughts, extreme heat waves, and raging wildfires.