The U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, is reorienting its development work around two very simple principles. “First, the purpose of our foreign assistance must be ending its need to exist,” said USAID Administrator Mark Green. That’s “not because we don't wish to help our friends, but because we believe in the inherent desire of every individual, every community, and every country to lead their own bright future.”
The second principle stems from our belief that private enterprise is the single most powerful force for lifting lives, strengthening communities, and accelerating that self-reliance.
“The combination of these two principles is reshaping every aspect of our work, especially in the Indo-Pacific,” said Administrator Green. “In order to accelerate their progress towards self-reliance, we're prioritizing programs that incentivize reforms, strengthen in-country capacity, remove barriers to private investment, and help those countries mobilize their own domestic resources.”
The Trump Administration is serious about this new approach. That is why Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in late July introduced several new initiatives. First among these is Asia Edge, or Enhancing Development and Growth through Energy.
Energy is one of Asia’s greatest needs. India, for example, will see its energy needs grow by over 250 percent by 2050. “Meeting that kind of demand will require all of us to tackle some serious challenges,” said Administrator Green.
This is where USAID comes in. It can help combat corruption and unfair market practices, build host country capacity for sophisticated transactions and help them develop effective legal and regulatory frameworks. USAID is also working with American businesses to help partner countries leapfrog over decades-old infrastructure and modernize their energy sectors by investing in smart grids, efficient technologies, and mobile apps for electricity payments.
“Our approach is to build around principles that sound a lot like the classic definition of the American Dream,” said Administrator Green. “It turns out it's not just the American Dream. It is the dream of so many other countries and so many other peoples. And when they achieve it, they not only help their own people rise, but they create stronger strategic partners and allies for American foreign policy and, yes, stronger economic partners and customers for American companies.”