Deputy Administrator Bonnie Glick’s Remarks for Milken Institute with USAID & MASHAV Investing for Impact in Emerging and Frontier Markets

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

[As Prepared]

Thank you and good morning. I appreciate everyone joining this session, and I hope everyone is safe and healthy.

I’m delighted to be joined today by my good friend, Ambassador Gil Haskel, the head of MASHAV, Israel’s development agency.

USAID’s work with MASHAV is one of the many fruits of friendship between our two great nations.

When one looks at or visits Israel today, it’s easy to forget that Israel itself was a recipient of U.S. economic assistance until the 1990s. Over the past 20 years or so, Israel has grown to be among the most innovative countries in the donor community. The U.S. is proud of the role our nation played in supporting Israel’s Journey to Self-Reliance. And we’re even more proud to count Israel as one of our closest allies among donor nations.

You can tell a lot about a country by its assistance model. Some countries manipulate recipients of their foreign assistance and use aid to drive nations into a spiral of dependency and debt. But U.S. assistance, like assistance from Israel and from other like-minded donors, U.S. assistance is transparent. We encourage governments to be accountable to their citizens, not to far-off or hidden creditors.

So it's only natural that our two development agencies work together — transparently and openly. After all, we have a shared vision for emerging market countries — one of prosperity and self-reliance. Our joint vision is based on transparency, democratic values, and the virtues of the free market.

Predatory practices and market abuses by authoritarian countries in their so-called development assistance programs only serve to highlight the importance of transparent partnerships between assistance agencies from democracies like USAID and MASHAV. Our two governments and our two nations understand that when paired with accountable governance, private enterprise is the most powerful engine for lifting people out of poverty.

That’s why I’m grateful to the Milken Institute for bringing us together today. We know that governments will never have enough money to solve all of the development challenges out there. But engaging with the private sector, bringing private capital to the table in the form of investments, job creation, and economic growth, is what will lead emerging markets toward greater prosperity.

During this time of COVID 19 we are all nervous about global markets. We are all nervous at home about job losses and an economic downturn. But we are also confident that market forces will drive demand and growth back on an upward trend as we flatten the curve and work toward profound economic changes.

Some of the changes will come because of COVID 19. Some despite it. But most will come about because the private sector was involved in some capacity. Now is not the time for the private sector to shy away from emerging and frontier markets. Now is the time to engage even more actively, more creatively, and with greater impact. Now it is incumbent on democratic governments to partner with the private sector to strengthen local markets and local businesses in emerging market countries.

By working in emerging and frontier markets, by demonstrating our commitments to these countries and to their development paths, we will lessen some of the risk associated with investments in them. Among the tools at our disposal, of course, are instruments for political risk insurance, first loss investments, technical assistance, capacity building, a lot of good will, and more. Now is the time to exercise all of the tools that we have.

Private Sector Engagement

Today, private sources represent some 90 percent of financial flows into emerging markets. We encourage governments to make the process of private investment as free-flowing as possible… as reliable as possible… and as sustainable as possible. Our job as governments is to reduce political and regulatory uncertainty to make private investment more attractive.

Of course, we recognize that some in the development field don’t yet realize the value of engaging the private sector. That’s why it is so valuable that the Milken Institute has convened development experts and members of the private sector today: to encourage more of you to engage, to open up important discussions, and to demonstrate through your work the effectiveness of new approaches.

Global investors will be much more keen on placing capital in emerging economies when they understand them better. USAID’s goal is to make sure investors have the best possible information, and to ensure that they have access to blended finance tools that reduce and share risks.

One concrete example of this is USAID’s program called Mobilizing Institutional Investors to Develop Africa’s Infrastructure (MiDA) program, which helps address potential misperceptions around investment risk in Africa. We focus on the $16 TRILLION strong U.S. institutional investor community. MIDA introduces mutual fund and pension fund investors to concrete opportunities for co-investment with their African counterparts in African emerging and frontier markets. With American expertise and participation, local pension fund consortiums have now begun to form in East and Southern Africa, driving local African savings into the real economy and building the home-grown expertise for Africans to finance their own development.

USAID is at the forefront of efforts to make projects more investor-ready, by providing first loss commitments to asset managers investing in underserved markets — such as women-led enterprises and digital financial services for low-income populations.

At its core, investment supports self-reliance: Investment creates jobs and growth. Jobs and growth create prosperity.

Digital Technology

Perhaps the most exciting shared interest between USAID and MASHAV is our common pursuit of digital infrastructure that is secure, reliable, and open to all citizens. At USAID, along with our colleagues across the US government, we view trusted digital networks not only as a development opportunity, but also a national security priority.

Only 19 percent of people in the least developed countries use the Internet — compared to 87 percent in the developed world. It’s no surprise that emerging market countries are eager to establish trusted networks for their citizens and businesses.

Why do I say “trusted?” Because 5G in the wrong hands can be used to manipulate national sovereignty, national security, and human rights. And access to high speed networks , like those that 5G will bring, is a priority for development and economic growth in emerging market countries.

Now is the time to focus on 5G in emerging markets. By partnering with the private sector, we can get trusted digital solutions into countries looking to break into 5G, and build the relationships necessary for building out secure 5G before untrusted firms entrench themselves.

USAID is also coordinating our advocacy, capacity building, and co-financing for 5G with other donors, including Israel, in emerging market countries.

Recently, Ambassador Haskel joined a roundtable I chaired with representatives from ten countries about deploying trusted 5G and communications networks into emerging markets.

Trusted digital networks are essential for emerging economies’ growth and good governance. Development agencies should work with export credit agencies and development banks to co-finance with private firms in their bids for spectrum and digital infrastructure.

Closing

I started today by talking about shared principles. Digital technology and security is one of the areas where principles of freedom and transparency matter most. I know that Ambassador Haskel and I are on the same page about this, and we see this as a ripe opportunity for advancing the USAID-MASHAV partnership, from both a government and private sector perspective.

I have a background in business, and I’ve dedicated my time at USAID to deepening engagement between the development community and the private sector. Seeing both of these communities come together brings me great joy.

With that, I look forward to a fruitful discussion with my colleagues from public and private sectors from around the world, and with all of you.

Last updated: September 18, 2020

Share This Page