USAID Administrator outlines new strategic priorities in major policy speech

Six months into her tenure as the Administrator of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), Samantha Power laid out her vision for the strategic direction of the agency. In a speech at Georgetown University, Power set forth three pillars of the new strategy, including making US assistance more accessible, equitable, and more responsive to local partners.

One of the biggest pledges by Power is set to send 25% of USAID funding to local partners over the next four years. Currently, the figure stands around 6%. This is not the first time that USAID has tried to move toward funding to local partners. Power acknowledged the difficulty in making this shift, noting that working with local partners is “more difficult, time-consuming, and it’s riskier,” in part because partners may lack the accounting and legal expertise to work with USAID contracts. Powers is determined to try the funding scheme and support her commitment with funding for local capacity building and an experienced team. Finally, Powers noted that there has been a shift in Congressional support for localization, which was a significant hurdle in previous efforts. 

Other commitments made by the Administrator include putting more local partners in the lead, including in program design, priority setting, implementation, and evaluation. Power also pledged to increase the diversity of USAID's staff through both an expansion of its workforce along with a focus on diversity. Finally, USAID will increase its work with the private sector through a new fund dedicated to investments with the private sector.

News report - Devex

Transcript - USAID