Remarks by USAID/SA MD Andy Karas at the Southern Africa Political Parties and Dialogue Program Technical Reference Group Meeting

Speeches Shim

Thursday, July 7, 2022
DWF Meeting with USAID Southern Africa MD Andy Karas
USAID Southern Africa Mission Director, Andy Karas at the DWF Meeting in Maseru, Lesotho
USAID Southern Africa

Thank you very much for the kind introduction.

On behalf of the United States Agency for International Development, USAID.

I am very pleased to be together with you all this morning to recognize the vital work and accomplishments of the Democracy Works Foundation and Augustine and his team in collaboration with political parties, academia, civil society, water and energy stakeholders, and social inclusion technical experts. 

Significantly, Lesotho has been one of the first countries to set up a TRG under the Southern Africa Political Parties and Dialogue Program. As we know, Southern Africa is a region with great potential in so many ways. Energy and water, in particular, are critical ingredients to the region’s efforts to advance economic development, regional integration, and poverty reduction strategies. Improvement in access to water and energy is sure to have a positive impact on other aspects of quality of life such as health, education, and overall economic development. 

Greater influences and active participation in policy-making by political actors as well as other national leaders are central to building national and regional water and energy resource governance mechanisms. 

For political actors and civil society organizations to effectively undertake their roles in advocating for policy formulation on water and energy it is important for stakeholders to be aware and informed of the issues related to water and energy access and management. The TRG was established to create a platform for healthy and robust dialogue among a diversity of stakeholders to enable the development of inclusive, sustainable policy solutions.

Since 2019, the Lesotho TRG has met numerous times provided feedback on policy making and contributed to the identification of opportunities for engagement and suggested areas for strengthening water and energy policy issues as well as social inclusion issues. 

The TRG has further served as a mechanism for sharing of knowledge and research findings from various actors to inform political parties in their policy development and policy positioning. Today’s meeting to assess the effectiveness of the TRG is especially important as it will provide an opportunity for us all to review and reflect on how our sustained engagement and collaborative learning has strengthened participatory policy and platform development that accurately reflects citizen-identified needs centering on access to clean water and energy and the management of these resources. 

Today, we will have the opportunity to identify lessons learned and ways to improve and sustain such platforms as the TRG. In closing, I encourage stakeholders to continue engaging and leveraging tools like the People’s Manifestos and Citizen Score Cards to build and sustain a democratic political culture that supports the meaningful participation of women, youth, and marginalized individuals.

On behalf of USAID, I thank you again for your greatly valued partnership in advancement of our shared vision of participatory, citizen responsive, inclusive, sustainable development.  Thank you.

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Maseru, Lesotho
Issuing Country 

Last updated: August 03, 2022

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