Opening Statement by the United States Delivered by Eric G. Postel, Associate Administrator, USAID

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Bonjour!  Good morning.  On behalf of the United States, my colleagues and I are pleased to join you today for the Peer Review of our development cooperation efforts.  We are pleased that our Peer Review is the first one under Ms. Charlotte Petri Gornitzka’s leadership as the new DAC Chair. 

Our delegation today includes U.S. Ambassador to the OECD, Daniel Yohannes, who was previously CEO of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, one of the Agency’s covered by this per review; Ambassador Lisa Kubiske, Deputy Assistant Secretary at the State Department and previously U.S. Ambassador to Honduras; Lesley Stone, Senior Advisor at the F Bureau of the State Department; Tom Kelly,  Deputy Vice President for Policy and Evaluation at the Millennium Challenge Corporation; as well as USAID colleagues Wade Warren, Susan Fine, Linda Shin, Nadereh Lee and Solianna Meaza. 

The review process over the past year has provided the United States Government a valuable opportunity to reflect upon the progress we have made over the last five years since the 2011 Peer Review.  We’re grateful for many years of advice and partnership with all the countries represented here today. 

Before I highlight just a few of the key elements of that progress, I want to first acknowledge the work and commitment of the DAC Peer Review examiners from the European Union and Republic of Korea as well as the OECD staff.  While much has gone into preparing for this day on our side, much more effort has come from all of you.  We appreciate your consideration of our memorandum submitted to you in February, participation in meetings in Washington in March, visits to South Africa and Malawi in April, and preparation of the draft Peer Review report this summer.  We also wish to thank you for what we believe to be a fair, comprehensive and thoughtful review of U.S. development cooperation efforts.

In addition, we are thankful that Ms. Betty Ngoma from Malawi's Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, could join today's review of U.S. development cooperation.  She was essential in ensuring the DAC team gained a comprehensive picture of the U.S. Government's assistance portfolio in Malawi and we would also like to recognize her for her role in the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation.  We look forward to her comments and feedback on the DAC team's findings and her recommendations to the extent they resonate with her experience with U.S development activities. 

Much of the U.S. Government’s development progress and improved policy coherence over the last five years can be traced to the 2010 Presidential Policy Directive on Global Development, which elevated development as a pillar of U.S. international engagement alongside diplomacy and defense. The directive emphasizes the power of leveraging resources and using effective and focused foreign assistance to unlock greater and investments in development; and it encourages new and deeper partnerships with different actors. It focuses U.S. development policy on achieving sustainable development outcomes through democratic governance, innovation and broad-based economic growth.  And, of course, it has been understood across all of our policies that gender and climate change should be factored into all operations because it is simply part of good development practice. 

I will now take the opportunity to highlight a few of the areas where the U.S. Government believes we have had the most impact since the 2011 Peer Review.  This includes the efforts of the American people. In the 2013 Index of Global Philanthropy, the Hudson Institute reported that Americans contributed $39 billion to development and humanitarian efforts in 2010.  From individual contributions of $10.00 to the $3.5 billion spent by the Gates Foundation in 2014, their combined efforts greatly improve our development outcomes.

The United States is the largest single provider of Official Development Assistance, and we are committed to focusing these resources in the contexts where they are needed most. Since 2009, the U.S. has spent on average approximately 50 percent of its ODA on Least Developed Countries and non-LDC fragile and conflict-affected states.  We are equally committed to ensuring that the quality of our aid is high, and ensuring that the aid we provide is transparent, accountable, results-focused and locally owned.

The United States has prioritized an approach to development that catalyzes ODA to create the conditions needed for developing countries to build the capacity of developing countries to mobilize their own resources to invest in their own development as well as to attract and more effectively leverage private capital.  Across nearly every industry and sector, we are working in partnership with global and local private sector organizations to increase our reach and effectiveness.  Over the past seven years, the U.S. Government mobilized more than $100 billion from the private sector.

Since 2010, agencies such as the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the State Department and USAID have increased the use of monitoring and evaluations to enhance evidence-based programming, inform budgets and decision-making.  For example, across the U.S. Government, we have completed 11 impact evaluations for Feed the Future over the last five years and have nearly 30 more impact evaluations in progress. 

In relentlessly striving to improve outcomes, the USAID office in Malawi, for example, is integrating programming across sectors to deliver better, more sustainable results through co-locating interventions geographically, coordinating more effectively with MCC and State Department programs in Malawi, and collaborating with other donors, civil society and the private sector – always with constant dialogue with the Government of Malawi. 

Meaningful progress has also been made in humanitarian assistance since the last peer review, including increased budget predictability, consolidated U.S. positions on key issues, better financing and programming options, and more emphasis on resilience programming.

USAID has also made some progress to restore staffing levels, empower local staff and has recently launched a Human Resources Transformation Strategy.

Moving forward, we will soon have a transition of leadership in the United States Government.  Your recommendations will be useful to share with the next Administration and the U.S. Congress as they determine the future of U.S. development policy.

Much of the progress documented in the Peer Review has been enshrined in bi-partisan legislation, including the recently passed Electrify Africa Act, institutionalizing our Power Africa initiative to work with African countries and the private sector to create 30,000 MW of power by 2030; the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act, which consolidates important gains on increasing aid transparency and improving monitoring and evaluation practices; and the Global Food Security Act, which reaffirms the U.S. commitment to achieving food security, and improving nutritional outcomes, especially for women and children. 

In conclusion, we look forward to your frank recommendations on how the U.S. can further improve our development cooperation efforts.  We know more work remains to be done but fortunately, the hard-working women and men of more than a dozen U.S. agencies, with the support of the U.S. Congress and millions of Americans, are committed to ending extreme poverty and achieving the SDGs.  Thank you. 

DAC Peer Review of the United States