USAID Administrator Mark Green's Remarks at A Town Hall Meeting

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For Immediate Release

Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Office of Press Relations
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U.S. Embassy New Delhi
New Delhi, India

Administrator Green:Thank you. Thanks for the warm welcome. I also appreciate your introducing my travel companions and what they do. I don't know what they do.

I just learned something along the way. Mark Anthony, thank you for your kind words, more importantly, for your leadership. And that leadership has been evident [inaudible] for my time in Washington but in my brief time here, certainly, seeing it in action it's great to see what you're doing.

And thanks to all of you for making time to come out. What I thought I would do is just offer a few comments and then we'll have a chance for Q&A. I wanted again to thank you. I want to thank you for the work that so many of you have done in making the Global Entrepreneurship Summit a success.

As an Ambassador, I have hosted both the presidential visit and the [inaudible] Summit, which is like the GES. As a member of Congress, I joined in my share of visits, CODELs. So, in other words, I have hosted visits, I have been on visits, and I know just how challenging they can be. The most important thing I hope -- the wheels up party is a good one. So, raise your glass for me.

But finally, I want to thank and congratulate all of you for the historic role that you're playing here. Not just with the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, which for my money has been a great success so far, but also your partnership with our host country is extraordinarily important. You don't need me to say it, but the U.S.-India relationship is one of the most important strategic relationships in the world today and that's only going to increase in the years ahead.

You have a front row seat to history. More importantly, you're helping to set the stage [inaudible]. And I hope you appreciate just what is in front of you because I think it's an extraordinary time and this is a special place.

As to your new ambassador, who I do know, I have had a chance to meet on a number of occasions, I listened to him back when he was going through confirmation and his vision for the U.S.-India relationship and it made me realize just how important the U.S.-India relationship is. But also, the State-USAID, Interagency, multi-agency relationship will be for that work and how important it is.

From clean water and clean air, to tackling the terrible scourge of tuberculosis, to tapping into the potential for private enterprise, to drive innovation and development, there is so much that you guys are doing and there's so much more that you guys will be doing. You are leading the way. And quite frankly, people like me really are learning a lot from you and I'm hoping to carry it back with me in Washington.

The importance of the goals that I've seen here in India have never been more important, not just for the U.S.-India relationship, but for the region and for a larger global interest. Over the last month, we've seen the term Indo-Pacific being used more and more. I think it's a recognition of India's rise to be sure. But I think it's also a recognition of the values that we in the U.S. share with the Government of India, but more importantly with the Indian people.

In June, during Prime Minister Modi's visit to Washington, he and President Trump publicly reaffirmed that a close Indo-U.S. relationship is central to peace and stability throughout the region. Just last month, Secretary Tillerson pointed out that, his words: "Indians and Americans don't just share an affinity for democracy, we share that vision for the future."

I believe that the USAID development partnership with India -- again based upon the shared vision of the future -- I think can make the countries even closer in the months and years ahead. Part of that shared vision is how both nations seem to advance development.

As many of you know, many of you have heard me say, I believe that the underlying purpose of our foreign assistance must be to end the need for its existence. I believe that every one of our programs should look forward to the day when it can end. And in fact, I think we need to measure ourselves by how far each investment moves us closer to that day. Now, let me be very clear, because I think this is important: I hold that belief not because I want to withdraw from the help, or withdraw from this region, very much the opposite. I simply believe that over the long run, we can best help our partners by prioritizing programs, incentivizing reform, strengthen in-country capacity, and help them effectively mobilize domestic resources. I want us to be good partners for our host countries by helping them on their own journey to self-reliance and prosperity.

When they rise and evolve, naturally our relationship will evolve as well, because that's what they want, what they need. But the relationship will continue just as American presence will continue. We will become more catalytic. I believe we will become more enterprise-oriented. I believe that we will look more and more for ways to leverage American private enterprise and investments. We will use our tools, our expertise, our experience, to help countries progress towards self-reliance and prosperity. We will encourage them to move from being recipients, to partners, to fellow donors.

In many ways, the modern history of our partnership with India is a prime example of what can be. Back just a little earlier, right before I came here, I had a chance to visit the store for SEWA. And what was fascinating to me, and I think would be a wonderful story to tell the American people, is how we had a partnership to invest, nearly as important as that is, not merely helping women here in India. Instead, we're working with women here in India to help train women from Afghanistan so that together, they can build Afghanistan's brighter future for women, for communities, and for their economy. That's a great story. And that's the relationship and a project that wouldn't have been possible not so very long ago.

Throughout USAID, we hope to learn from the history that's been seen here in India. And we hope to help keep writing that history here in India with our Indian partners, private and public. After all, it was USAID support in 1960 that helped usher in the Green Revolution here that fought widespread famine and boosted India's rice production by nearly 50 percent. We helped launch the Green Building Movement here in India, which has further helped to open the clean energy market.

Here in India, that's worth an estimated 250 billion U.S. dollars. Over the decades, our programs have progressively evolved as India has evolved into one of the fastest-growing economies, among the world's largest and most vibrant democracies.

In 2011, the 60-year-old food aid program came to an end. That was an extraordinary accomplishment. A testament to the people of India, and a testament to all of you, and those who have gone before you. But in each of these cases, as one chapter closes, another chapter opens. The relationship changes; it doesn't go away. We simply work together on new projects, new causes, and in new ways.

As friends of India and leaders of the free world, we have much to do here. In many ways, I would argue, we have more to do here. India still needs stronger capacity in areas like clean water. Earlier this week, I had the honor of launching a new water kiosk in partnership with the government and our partners at the Safe Water Network and Honeywell, a good American company. That project will provide an additional 8,000 people with access to affordable, safe drinking water.

Over the next year, this collaboration will install 50 kiosks throughout Hyderabad and it will provide another 150,000 people with access to clean, potable drinking water. It's a great example for what can happen when we bring the government, the private sector, and civil society together.

So, with projects like this, we're replacing the traditional donor-recipient model from a half a century ago with one in which we recognize and seize upon USAID's comparative advantage. We are a convener. We are an innovator. We are an accelerator. We're an honest broker. We're not merely a drone. USAID has become a trusted partner in demonstrating time impact models and approaches that more efficiently and effectively direct India's own resources, which India can then scale up.

We are a development and role catalyst. We are the spark that fuels the Indian government, private, for-profit and non-profits, philanthropist, civil societies, and other partners who accelerate the Indian journey. But I have to tell you, I am impressed with all that I've seen.

One reason that I was so eager to join all of you today, is I wanted to commend you personally for the extraordinary groundbreaking work that you've been doing. But also, to commend you for how you're teaching us and the rest of the Agency, and other agencies about the ways that we can and should transform the way that we do business.

You have shown us how countries like India, with USAID guidance, could take relatively modest U.S. contributions, in the thousands, and leverage that into the millions, to truly bring about transformative change.

Today, with your support, India shoulders the vast majority of the cost of HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment. Efforts greatly reducing India's reliance on USAID, PEPFAR, and other donor support. You have shown us how we can help transform bilateral success, into trilateral success, and regional success.

Buoyed by growth and development progress, for example, India today is one of the largest development donors in Afghanistan. That's a tremendous sign of accomplishment and progress. It's a sign that India is rising, and India wants to lead. And it's also a sign of the work that you've been doing, the enabling that you've been doing, the accelerating that you've been doing.

These are exciting times for USAID, here in India, but all around the world. New technologies, new approaches, new private sector partners. All together we're making advancements possible that we couldn't have even dreamed of just a few decades ago. What isn't new is what's necessary to make all of this happen, and that's all of you.

In my short time here at the Agency, I have to tell you how impressed I have been with the team at USAID, with the team at State, and with the team across the entire U.S. Government. Your dedication, your ability to adapt, your idealism, and your belief in the power of compassion and possibility has raised the bar, raised the ceiling, and shown us all what is possible.

Thank you for all of what you do: lifting lives, building communities. Thank you for all that you do to advance American leadership. What you do is the juice of American diplomacy, in so many parts of the world. And what you are doing, what the U.S.-India relationship is accomplishing here and throughout the region is truly historic.

Thank you again for your hospitality. I'm learning a lot from you and I look forward to working with all of you and coming back here again real soon. So, thank you.