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Testimony of Dr. Rajiv Shah, USAID Administrator, before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs – FY 2013 Budget Request

Committee on Foreign Affairs, U.S. House of Representatives



Excerpts from the testimony before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. See full testimony here.

SUPPORTING STRATEGIC PRIORITIES AND STRENGTHENING NATIONAL SECURITY

We will continue to support the growth of democracies around the world, especially in the Middle East and North Africa where the transformative events of the Arab Spring are bringing down autocratic regimes and expanding freedom.

State and USAID have requested $770 million for a new Middle East and North Africa Incentive Fund to respond to the historical changes taking place across the region. The Fund will incentivize long-term economic, political and trade reforms. key pillars of stability.by supporting governments that demonstrate a commitment to undergo meaningful change and empower their people. State and USAID will continue to play a major role in helping the people of this region determine their own future.

In Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, USAID continues to work closely with interagency partners including the State and Defense departments, to move toward long-term stability, promote economic growth and support democratic reforms. Civilians are now in the lead in Iraq, helping that country emerge as a stable, sovereign, democratic partner. Our economic assistance seeks to expand economic opportunity and improve the quality of life throughout the country, with a particular focus on health, education and private sector development. With time, Iraq’s domestic revenue will continue to take the place of our assistance.

In Afghanistan, we’ve done work to deliver results despite incredibly difficult circumstances. We established our Accountable Assistance for Afghanistan.or A3.initiative to reduce subcontracting layers, tighten financial controls, enhance project oversight and improve partner vetting. And with consistent feedback from Congress we are focusing on foundational investments in economic growth, reconciliation and reintegration and capacity building, as well as to support progress in governance, rule of law, counternarcotics, agriculture, health and education. We continue to focus on the sustainability of these investments so they ultimately become fiscally viable within the Afghan Government’s own budget.

In Pakistan, our relationship is challenging and complex, but it is also critical. Our assistance continues to strengthen democratic institutions and foster stability during a difficult time. Crucial to those efforts is our work to provide electricity. Over the last two years, we’ve added as many as 1,000 megawatts to Pakistan’s grid, providing power to 7 million households. We’ve also trained more than 70,000 businesswomen in finance and management and constructed 215 kilometers of new road in South Waziristan, expanding critical access to markets.

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