Remarks for Deputy Administrator Glick’s Conversation with Hudson Institute on America's Foreign Assistance Leadership

Friday, May 29, 2020

[As Prepared]


Thank you very much for having me today, Blaise [Misztal]. I’m glad to be able to speak to this group, and it’s so important that these conversations are taking place.

I want to begin my remarks with some observations about development globally, and the context of our work at USAID, and then I will focus more squarely on what we are doing on the African continent.

Let me begin by making a point that too often is overlooked: Foreign assistance is not just a numbers game. It’s not just who has written checks, and for how much, and to whom. Foreign assistance is a reflection of a nation’s core principles and values.

America’s use of smart power has always been a reflection of our values, from our moment of independence. In fact, you could argue that the most powerful and important tool we’ve given the world is the Declaration of Independence.

There, for all to read, are the principles that America has always stood for – the dignity of the human person...inalienable rights of individual citizens… the expectation of transparency and governance… the demand for accountability from our elected leaders.

There is ample evidence of our commitment to these principles over the years, including: The Marshall Plan, Peace Corps, USAID, and the Millennium Challenge Corporation, and when it comes to health specifically, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the President’s Malaria Initiative.

All of these assistance programs reflect America’s values and America’s commitment to free markets and free people. Our foreign assistance has always been designed to promote national sovereignty, prosperity, democratic governance, accountability to the citizens and individual rights.

We at USAID recognize that successful development results in stable and sustainable societies in the long term. It is what we call the “Journey to Self-Reliance.”

American Assistance: Global Health & COVID-19

America has been the world’s largest provider of health assistance for decades - contributing more than $140 billion in global health assistance in the 21st century alone.

In response to COVID-19, we have engaged in what we call an “All of America” effort. It includes all parts of American society, from government, to NGOs and charities, to the private sector.

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, the U.S. Government has contributed more than $1 billion specifically aimed at fighting the pandemic abroad -- in more than 120 countries.

And that number doesn’t reflect the generosity of private businesses, non-profit groups, charities, faith-based organizations, and individuals, as well as the ingenuity of our scientists, researchers, and innovators.

Together, these businesses and organizations have provided $4 billion in donations and assistance to combat COVID-19, accounting for nearly 80 percent of global philanthropic efforts.

In Africa, our U.S. Government assistance includes more than $383 million to 43 countries, in addition to regional programming across West Africa and the Sahel.

Our immediate response in Africa aims to meet the critical needs of communities, governments and, of course, the health workers on the front lines of the pandemic.

Specifically, we are improving coordination within health systems, making sure communities understand the risks of contracting the virus, and strengthening capacity to detect and monitor any health issues that may arise as a result of COVID-19.

In Nigeria, to name one example, USAID is providing nearly $26 million of additional COVID funding to help the country respond to the pandemic. We are bolstering risk communications, providing clean water, and helping implement practical solutions to stem the spread of the virus.

And we recently delivered 50 ventilators to South Africa to assist with its national response to COVID-19. These ventilators reflect state-of-the-art U.S. technology, and will give South Africa flexibility in treating patients affected by the virus.

Those are just two examples of our response to the immediate needs of COVID-19 in Africa. And we are working diligently to scale up and provide more assistance across the continent.

Competing Models

Now other powerful nations have their own values and their own principles, and so we should not be surprised to be confronted by approaches different than our own.

Which brings me to the example of the Chinese Communist Party.

The CCP’s foreign assistance program reflects the Party’s principles and values. And it starts with the fact that its assistance program has nothing to do with development, and has everything to do with intimidation, influence, resources, and power.

We are seeing this most clearly on the African continent.

The PRC’s assistance programs aim not to free nations from subsistence, debt and foreign influence, but rather to make them more dependent on the Chinese Communist Party -- CCP capital, CCP corporations, CCP labor, and CCP strength.

This is a battle of ideas. And the Chinese Communist Party’s big idea is that its system of state authoritarianism and state capitalism is better positioned to lead the way in fighting this pandemic on a global stage.

We believe our approach to assistance stands in stark contrast to the model put forward by Beijing. Beijing promotes a “Journey to China-Dependence” while the USA offers a “Journey to Self-Reliance.” And we have the record to prove we have the better case.


America has always been the leader in global health and humanitarian assistance. We are continuing that leading role in the global response to COVID-19. And we will lead the world in recovering from the pandemic and the knock-on effects.

Thank you for the opportunity to join you today, and I look forward to your questions.

Last updated: May 29, 2020

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