The Society for International Development Annual Conference took place on May 26, 2022, with the participation of USAID Administrator, Samantha Power. Elly Preotle, IDG’s Vice President, attended the conference and asked the following question:
I noted when you (Administrator Power) were talking about the budget request you mentioned several areas: humanitarian assistance, climate change, gender, and health. But I noted that economic growth was not included and given the importance of economic growth for poverty alleviation and economic development, and in particular with the situation in Ukraine and the importance of stabilizing Ukrainian economy, I’m wondering if you could speak to USAID’s priorities and what your vision is for economic growth in USAID going forward.
In response, Administrator Power explained that due to the displacement of millions of people caused by “prior wars, wars not ending, climate shocks”, USAID’s humanitarian budget had to grow to meet those emergency needs. However, while recognizing there is not enough allocations in economic growth programming due to the need to fund the humanitarian budget, Administrator Power maintained that private sector investment and getting exports to markets is “a huge part of our agenda…”
Administrator Power also noted the importance of communicating USAID’s work in a compelling way because the high-level language “works within the [development] community but doesn’t translate as well often outside of it” and she indicated the importance of fighting disinformation. Administrator Power explained that she believes both these efforts (communication and fighting disinformation) involve “skills that will allow bridging to the private sector and, specifically, to the international financial institutions” demonstrating the cohesiveness these goals have with advancing economic development.