Statement for the Record of Mark Andrew Green, Nominee for USAID Administrator, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Speeches Shim

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Chairman Corker, Ranking Member Cardin, Members of the Committee, I am honored to come before you today as the President’s nominee to lead the U.S. Agency for International Development.

And I’m grateful to President Trump and Secretary Tillerson for their trust and confidence.

Senator Baldwin, Senator Johnson, Speaker Ryan, thank you for your friendship, years of support and that gracious introduction.

To those with whom I consulted in preparing for today, thank you for your counsel and guidance.

I also want to express my personal gratitude to Wade Warren, who has done an outstanding job leading the Agency these last months as Acting Administrator.

Finally, but most importantly, I want to thank my family for their unwavering support. My parents, born South African and British, but proud Americans for twenty plus years.

My wife, Susan, who is here today, and our three children Rachel, Anna and Alex. Thirty years ago this August, Sue and I began a journey as volunteer teachers in Kenya. We never could have imagined it would bring us to this day and to this great honor.

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee, should I be confirmed, it is lessons from that journey, touching five continents and working with countless development leaders, that I will bring to my work at USAID.

While teaching in rural Kenya, I learned how desperate so many families are for a taste of the opportunities we as Americans usually take for granted. Many of my students walked miles, barefoot and ill-nourished, to attend class. Never mind that there weren’t enough textbooks or that during the rainy season holes in our tin roof and lack of glass in our windows disrupted lessons. When some of the students were sent home for falling behind on school fees, I often caught them trying to sneak back INTO my class. Their determination, their passion, has never left me.

Years later, on September 11th, 2001, while serving the good people of Northeast Wisconsin in Congress, like you, I learned painfully just how small the world had become.

After 9-11, I was part of the team that crafted key development initiatives like the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), programs that have transformed U.S. development assistance, brought about remarkable changes in many parts of the world and taught us lessons that we apply to this day.

Later still, while serving President Bush and the American people as our Ambassador to Tanzania, I saw first-hand how those same tools actually worked in the field, and what could be done to make them even better. I learned additional lessons too numerous to count.

I saw how important our civil-society partners can be, both faith-based and secular, in reaching out to people and communities in need. I learned how important it was to tackle bureaucracy and prevent turf battles, and worked to mobilize every agency and every partner’s particular capacities and strengths.

I was so often impressed by the skills and talent of our development professionals, particularly those who powered USAID. And each day, as I drove to my office in Dar es Salaam, past the memorial to those who lost their lives in the 1998 Embassy bombing, I was reminded both that there are forces out there seeking to harm us, and that our diplomacy and development teams are often among the first in harm’s way.

Mr. Chairman, my journey in development didn’t end with my time in Tanzania, nor did the lessons I’ve learned. Back here in the States, I’ve been blessed to work with important organizations that are mobilizing resources, policies and ideas to make our development work in the field so much more effective.

My work with Malaria No More and the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition taught me the importance of bringing together voices from all sectors -- business, civil society and defense -- to educate voters and their representatives on the importance of American leadership. My activities with the International Conservation Caucus Foundation have shown me how bipartisan coalitions can be forged for important causes like commonsense conservation.

My work with the Consensus for Development Reform and my time on the Board of the MCC drove home the importance of monitoring and evaluation, and focusing on outcomes. These last three-plus years as President of the International Republican Institute have shaped my views in so many ways. I’ve traveled to places like Mongolia, Ukraine and Colombia, and I’ve seen how vitally important good governance is to sustainable development outcomes.

All of these experiences, from working in classrooms in Kenya, to walking hospital wards in Tanzania, to observing election halls in Jordan and Burma, have shown me that the American people and our lead development agency, USAID, can be an irreplaceable force for good in the world.

It would be an extraordinary honor to lead the men and women of the U.S. Agency for International Development.

From responding to disasters and pandemics, to feeding the desperate and healing the sick, opposing extremism, strengthening governance, and creating opportunity for children, small business owners, and rural farmers, USAID’s work is broad and its impact is growing.

Early results show that in the last six years, USAID's food-security efforts have helped save nearly one million children from the lifelong effects of chronic malnutrition, and helped at least nine million more people live free from extreme poverty.

USAID has helped save almost seven million lives through the President’s Malaria Initiative, supported life-sustaining HIV treatments for 11.4 million more through PEPFAR, and our humanitarian assistance has reached more than 350 million people suffering through disasters and food emergencies.

USAID isalso pioneering new technologies to help entrepreneurs gain access to financing, combat diseases like Zika and Ebola, and bring reliable electricity to whole communities and countries.

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee, I know that, if confirmed, I will take the helm during a time of unique challenges for the Agency, the wider development community and those of us working to ensure our nation’s security.

International development needs have always outstripped resources. Yet, the needs facing us today are nearly unprecedented. We will need to make tough, smart choices in order to best advance our interests and values.

Violent extremism in many parts of the world, hostility to civil society and attacks on values we hold dear are making our work more dangerous and more expensive.

On the other hand, there are reasons for great optimism. Innovations like SMS and smartphone applications are connecting the developing world. Research is hastening the eradication of scourges like Ebola and malaria. These are just a few of the advancements that hold great promise for our work.

International development is one of those quiet places where Republicans and Democrats have long come together on a bipartisan basis. It was, after all, President Bush who created MCC and PEPFAR, and then President Obama who launched Power Africa and Feed the Future.

If confirmed, I will do my best to work in this bipartisan spirit and apply the many lessons I’ve learned since first arriving in that East African classroom.

Mr. Chairman, you’ve asked me for my priorities for USAID. I can best sum them up this way: every President in modern memory has suggested that the purpose of foreign assistance should be ending its need to exist. If confirmed, I plan to make that our core organizing principle.

That would mean pursuing three overarching priorities.

First, I will make sure that our programs respect our taxpayers.

I will set a high standard of accountability for USAID and our partners. Our foreign assistance funds are precious: they come from hard-working families all across this great country. We owe it to them to use these as efficiently and effectively as possible.

I will focus our limited resources on what is working, and end what is not. I will scrutinize every program and every expenditure to ensure that we are maximizing value, minimizing waste and always advancing America’s interests. But I will need your advice and counsel on how to do this best, and I commit to consulting with you as we move forward.

Second, I will make it clear to our partners that our assistance isn’t open-ended or inevitable or, most important, a substitute for what they must take on themselves. Our support must never be seen as a gift or a handout, but instead as the proverbial hand UP.

Every program should look forward to the day when it can end. So I will ask every USAID mission to evaluate how each program dollar moves a country closer to that day.

We should emphasize programs that incentivize local capacity-building and implementation, mobilize domestic resources and ensure that our host-government partners have “skin in the game.”

To be very clear, USAID will NOT walk away from our commitment to humanitarian assistance, and we will always stand with people everywhere when disaster strikes, for this is who we are as Americans.

But I also believe that the truest sense of American compassion comes from helping people and countries take care of themselves and craft their own bright futures.

Third, and finally, I will work to reform our assistance tools and reshape our programs to better reflect America’s evolving relationship with the developing world.

When USAID was first created, about 80 percent of the money flowing from the United States to the developing world was government money -- “official development assistance.” Today that figure is less than 10 percent.

International commerce, remittances and private philanthropy have become transformational forces that are creating unprecedented opportunities for improving the human condition. There are more American companies investing in Africa and more faith-based organizations serving communities across Latin America than ever before.

We are living in a remarkable time of innovation and entrepreneurship. When Sue and I lived in that Kenyan village, only one wind-up telephone served the entire neighborhood. Visiting that same village just a dozen years later, all the teachers had cell phones. These days, just a dozen years after that, these same teachers are paying their bills, accessing electricity and connecting to banks -- all on their smartphones.

These changes have upended the development landscape. There are literally trillions of dollars that could be mobilized for development if we learn to better leverage partnerships, catalyze private-sector investments and amplify the efforts of foundations and non-profits.

If confirmed, and working with you, I will pursue ideas for reforming USAID’s offices and procedures, rethinking its structure and changing the way it engages with the many players in the development space to better tap into new financial flows, catalyze mutually beneficial investment and remove unnecessary bureaucratic obstacles to private-sector participation.

I will consult with a wide range of partners, public- and private-sector, commercial and non-profit, to ensure that we are engaging them in the most-effective way possible. Of course, while USAID is America’s lead development Agency, many other Departments, Agencies and offices provide some aspect of foreign assistance. I will work hard to strengthen our interagency cooperation, because I saw firsthand in Tanzania how it can be an effective force-multiplier.

If confirmed, I will work closely with the Departments of State and Health and Human Services and other colleagues across the interagency to ensure that USAID’s unique development tools are addressing our most significant foreign-policy and nationalsecurity challenges.

I will also work to strengthen the Agency's relationship with the Department of Defense, especially in crisis states, where the military and USAID work side-by-side toward that shared goal of building a more peaceful future.

Mr. Chairman, the same passion that carried me to East Africa 30 years ago still drives me today. I believe in the power of compassion and the power of development.

But today, I know what I didn’t know then. Years of experience and learning have shown me that fostering development is hard. But if done right, and led well, it can not only help lift lives and strengthen communities in far off lands, but also help America achieve many of her strategic priorities.

USAID has done amazing work over the past 55 years, but we can and must do even better. If confirmed, I commit to consulting with you when there are hard decisions, and working side-by-side to strengthen the Agency.

Mr. Chairman, I believe that USAID is an asset to our national security and the global face of American generosity. With your support for my confirmation, I commit to working with the talented men and women of USAID to build up what is working, change what is not, and deliver an Agency that is even stronger and more effective tomorrow than the one that exists today.

Foreign Relations Committee