At the Jijiga Export Slaughter House
August 30, 2017
(As prepared for delivery)
ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: Thank you. Thank you for the kind introduction. More importantly, thanks to all of you for hosting us here today. It’s not every day that I get to give my remarks in a meat processing plant, however, those who know me know I am from farm country back in America, so this is not my first meat processing plant. But I can also say, as someone who has been to meat processing plants in many countries, I think we have something here that is world class. Something that you should all be very, very proud of.
As many of you know, Africa is very special to me. I served as the U.S. Ambassador to Tanzania 2007 to 2008, but my relationship goes back much further. As a young man, a much younger man, I taught school in rural Kenya with my wife. My father was born in South Africa. Each of my children, now grown-up children, has a Kenyan middle name because I wanted them to ask questions about why Africa was special to their mother and father. And I think if my kids come here and meet you, they will understand why Africa is so special. So, it seemed only natural that my first trip overseas as administrator would be here, to Africa, as something that is very important. When I made this trip to Africa, I did not want to go to a nostalgic Africa. I did not want to go see animals, I did not want to go to the beaches or the islands. I want to see Africa of today, an Africa of tomorrow, and that is what I see here; that I see with all of you.
As America’s initiative to combat global hunger, Feed the Future is helping to make a real impact with places like Jijiga, which brings partners together to help people harness the power of agriculture to jumpstart their local economies and to lift themselves out of poverty. This plant employs more than 100 people and it is set to hire over 100 more. That is an example of what Feed the Future can do. And that is what the best development is all about. The [Somali Regional] Vice President was very kind to thank USAID for what we have done, but USAID has nothing other than to help you do things. And it is what you have done, that we’re here to celebrate today.
Feed the Future was launched in 2009 and it has partnered to lift more than 9 million people out of poverty, and we are continuing to build on that progress. For many years, the international community has intervened, year after year, to deliver food aid in places that have suffered cycles of drought and deprivation over and over again, but Feed the Future tries to break that pattern, and it tries to look forward to the day when emergency food aid is no longer needed.
Last year, Congress passed, with great support, Republicans and Democrats, the Global Food Security Act, which sent a strong message about the commitment of America to empower communities and strengthen economies through Feed the Future. Today, we are announcing the next phase of Feed the Future, to focus our efforts on countries, like Ethiopia, that show national leadership and real potential for growth. The U.S. Government has chosen twelve countries to participate in this second phase of Feed the Future as part of our Global Food Security Strategy.
These are nations that do have compelling needs. They represent great opportunities for progress and they have governments and private partners that have signaled that they are committed to doing their part to invest in their own development. As we move into this new phase, Feed the Future will be redoubling its efforts in Bangladesh, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, Kenya, Mali, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Uganda, and some country called Ethiopia.
With the selection of these 12 countries, we will be focusing efforts on promoting long-term sustainable development that gives people the ability to build their own future and to resist the shocks that are brought on by drought and other natural disasters. These 12 countries not only represent great need, they also represent great potential. Great potential for growth and transformation in their development journeys. Feed the Future is what we Americans call, “a hand up, not a hand out.” As I have said, the purpose of foreign assistance must be ending its need to exist.
Feed the Future harnesses the power of American development leadership and innovation to partner with host governments, and community leaders and the private sector to build resilient communities with the goal of helping people stand on their own two feet, no matter what challenge may come their way. By equipping people with the tools to feed themselves and their families over the long term, Feed the Future and our partners are addressing the root causes of hunger and poverty and bolstering their ability to meet future challenges. Ethiopia, in particular, is a great example of the impact that the Feed the Future partnership can have. Thanks to all of you and your hard work, Ethiopia is making strong progress. Because of investments by the national government, and with the support of smart development assistance, Ethiopia was able to bounce back from 2015 and 2016 droughts. And I’m confident that Ethiopia’s resilience will help the country to weather the current drought as well.
We in America stand with Ethiopia as it works to help itself. And through Feed the Future, we will work to build resilience against climate shocks that can tip countries toward famine and severe food insecurity. I must say, I’m very impressed with the progress that I am seeing here in the Somali region. And I’m really honored to have been able to visit with you today. To see all of your many projects, as I’ve gone around these tables, you are very proud of what you do, you should be very proud of what you do, so thank you.
We are very, very grateful and we will be watching closely because we know that the best is still coming. Thank you.