In a development-focused speech hosted by MFAN partner organization the Center for Global Development, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today laid out her ambitions for the United States’ role in assisting developing countries.
Supported by an entourage that included newly-confirmed Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Raj Shah, Millennium Challenge Corporation CEO Daniel Yohannes, Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Maria Otero, and former USAID Acting Administrator Alonzo Fulgham, Clinton touched on issues ranging from the importance of making the case for foreign assistance to the American public to rebuilding USAID as the premier development agency in the world.
Saying that it was time for “a new mindset for a new century” in elevating development as “a central pillar of our foreign policy,” Clinton called for a commitment based on investment rather than aid in order to “break the cycle of dependence that aid can create by helping countries build their own institutions and their own capacity to deliver essential services.”
In emphasizing the need for increased capacity to better measure results, Clinton said, “USAID and the State Department must have the staff, the expertise, and the resources to design, implement, and evaluate our programs.”
She also elaborated on plans to “integrate development more closely with defense and diplomacy” by clearly stating she has no intention of “diluting” or “politicizing” development, but instead leveraging “the expertise of our diplomats and military on behalf of development, and vice versa.”
Clinton made a point to highlight the ineffective coordination among U.S. government agencies doing development work, saying, “The challenge now facing USAID and the State Department is to work with all the other agencies to coordinate, lead, or support effective implementation of the administration’s strategy.”
And closing with an issue near and dear to her, Clinton called women and girls “one of the world’s greatest untapped resources and a terrific return on investment.” She added: “You know the proverb, ‘Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day, but teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime’? If you teach a woman to fish, the impact is even greater. It takes a woman to teach a village.”
Calling gender integration “a strategic interest of the United States,” Clinton said she will “hold our agencies accountable for ensuring that our government and our foreign policy support the world’s women and achieve lasting, meaningful results…”
To read her full remarks, click here.