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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

FACT SHEET: President Obama’s Commitment to Global Development

Building on Over a Half Century of U.S. Leadership

Over the past eight years, President Obama has elevated sustainable development to a core pillar of American foreign policy.  On Wednesday July 20th, the President will host the White House Summit on Global Development, bringing together development leaders, public and private sector financing partners, civil society, diplomats, and entrepreneurs to mark our global progress and catalyze further development efforts.

Building on more than a half century of global leadership, including the creation of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) under President George W. Bush, President Obama issued the first and a new U.S. Global Development Policy in 2010.  For the first time, global development was elevated, on par with diplomacy and defense, as a core pillar of American engagement. The President’s policy set forth a vision that places a premium on many of the principles and objectives endorsed by the international community last year in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: sustained and inclusive economic growth; democratic governance; game-changing innovations; leveraging new partners and multiple sources of development financing; and building sustainable systems to meet basic human needs. 

The President’s signature development initiatives reflect these principles and a new way of doing business.  Feed the Future has generated significant reductions in poverty and malnutrition, Power Africa has set the stage for the steady flow of private sector investments in an expanding energy sector and our investments in global health have yielded reductions in maternal and child mortality, reductions in malaria incidence and lethality, and the promise of an AIDS-free generation.  Across these and other efforts, and as mandated by the President’s policy, our investments in development reflect increased and more strategic collaboration between and among a broad array of U.S. government departments and agencies.

Real Lives, Real Outcomes

Food security and nutrition. In response to the spike in world food prices, President Obama called for a global food security initiative at the London G20 Summit in 2009.  His continued leadership led to the more than doubling of donor assistance to agricultural development, renewed investments in research, and a commitment, embraced by the United Nations, to invest in the comprehensive country plans designed by developing countries.  The President’s leadership and the Feed the Future initiative have placed food security high on the world’s agenda, and generated significant results, including: 

  • In 2015, Feed the Future helped over 9 million smallholder farmers, food producers, and rural families adopt innovations and new practices to improve agricultural productivity.  In turn, these farmers—many of them women—boosted their incomes by more than $800 million. 
  • Feed the Future has reached nearly 18 million children with vital nutrition interventions in 2015, and new data show that childhood stunting has dropped between 12 to 32 percent and poverty has decreased between 12 to 26 percent over recent years in several areas where Feed the Future works. 
  • Since 2013, the Administration has supported the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN), which with over 300 partners makes agricultural and nutritionally relevant data available, accessible, and usable for unrestricted use. 

Complementing our bilateral efforts, the United States led a multilateral effort to launch the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) in 2009, which has since allocated $1.4 billion to date to 25 low-income countries to help boost agricultural productivity.  With other G-7 countries and African leaders, President Obama in 2012 launched the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition which has fostered policy reforms that have mobilized $10 billion in private sector investment commitments. 

Global Health. Under President Obama’s leadership, the United States has generated sweeping results, including:

  • Building on the President’s Emergency Program for AIDS Relief launched by President George W. Bush, our efforts mean that an AIDS-free generation is now within sight.  Since 2009, the number of people receiving life-saving treatment through PEPFAR has increased from nearly 2.5 million to 9.5 million at the end of 2015; 1.5 million babies have been born AIDS-free to mothers infected with HIV/AIDS, and the United States is positioned to realize President Obama’s commitment to meet the bold new target of 12.9 million people on treatment by 2017 and to reduce new HIV infections among adolescent girls.
  • The U.S. government is now the largest donor to global malaria efforts worldwide. Over the past 15 years, through US government investments in the President’s Malaria Initiative, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria, and partnerships, an estimated 6.2 million malaria deaths have been averted.
  • The Obama Administration has challenged the world to end preventable child and maternal deaths, and since 2008 helped save the lives of 4.6 million children and 200,000 mothers.  U.S. contributions to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance have helped to immunize more than 500 million kids and help prevent more than 7 million deaths.  With a relentless focus on neglected tropical diseases, the United States has leveraged more than $11 billion in donated medicines, reaching nearly 700 million people with essential medicines.  We have made tremendous progress in the fight to eradicate polio, and we are close to wiping this disease off the face of the earth, forever.
  • Before the first cases of Ebola came to light in West Africa, President Obama launched the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) to drive a worldwide effort to ensure that all countries can prevent, detect and respond to health threats and can meet the requirements of international health regulations.  The Administration proceeded to work with partners to defeat the first-ever Ebola epidemic while also mobilizing commitments to help build the capacity of our partners.  The United States has committed to assist at least 31 countries to achieve the GHSA targets and to build national, regional, and international capability to address infectious disease threats, and G-7 Leaders have now matched this commitment by collectively pledging to assist 76 countries and regions.

Power Africa. President Obama launched Power Africa in 2013 with a goal of doubling access to energy in sub-Saharan Africa.  To do so, Power Africa was built to combine the tools from across U.S. departments and agencies needed to facilitate private sector investment in Africa’s energy sector.  Power Africa thus not only delivers investments that can yield increased electricity, it also strengthens local capacity, helps foster a strong investment climate, and mitigates risk. With an initial commitment by the Obama Administration of $7 billion in assistance and other financing, Power Africa has leveraged public and private sector commitments to invest nearly $43 billion in power generation and distribution across sub-Saharan Africa.  Through Power Africa, the United States is working together with a range of partners to accelerate private-sector energy transactions, by leveraging the assistance, financing, commercial and diplomatic tools of the U.S. Government, as well as by leveraging the tools and expertise of our bilateral and multilateral partners, including the African Development Bank, the World Bank Group, and the Governments of Sweden, the European Union, the UK, Norway and Canada, and more than 100 private-sector partners. Additional achievements include:

  • Since its launch, Power Africa has provided support to projects expected to generate up to 29,000 megawatts.  This includes projects expected to generate 4,600 megawatts of electricity that have already reached financial close, which are expected to generate over 2.5 million new connections to electricity. 
  • Three years after the launch of Power Africa, several U.S. Government departments and agencies have announced expanded Power Africa commitments.  The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) exceeded its original $1.5 billion commitment 18 months early and has since pledged an additional $1 billion. To date, OPIC is supporting 19 projects, including utility scale power plans, off-grid and small-scale renewable projects and microfinance and investment facilities, in support of Power Africa.
  • The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) has nearly doubled its initial $1 billion commitment and is implementing power compacts in Ghana, Malawi, Benin, Liberia and an energy sector threshold program in Sierra Leone. 
  • The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) has increased its energy portfolio in Africa by over 300 percent, supporting projects with the potential to provide electricity to up to 1.7 million households.  The U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF), in partnership with USAID and GE Africa, has awarded 50 grants to local entrepreneurs for a total of $5.0 million in grant support through the Power Africa Off-Grid Energy Challenge. 

The Power Africa Roadmap released in 2016 outlines Power Africa’s plan for adding 30,000 megawatts and 60 million new electrical connections by 2030 through the combined efforts of Power Africa’s more than 120 public and private sector partners.  In February 2016, President Obama signed the bipartisan Electrify Africa Act of 2015 into law, which codifies the Power Africa approach and ensures this work will extend well beyond this Administration.  Building on Power Africa’s vision and leadership, a number of new initiatives have emerged that seek to address Africa’s energy challenges and further accelerate progress towards our shared goal of expanding energy.

Changing the Way We Do Business. In the face of extraordinary global challenges, the Obama Administration has reshaped the U.S. approach to development, including by:

Catalyzing private investment and other sources of financing

Across these initiatives and more broadly, the Obama Administration has acted on our recognition that sustainable development outcomes require multiple streams of financing, including domestic resources, private capital and assistance.  Under the Obama Administration, the United States has committed and helped mobilize more than $100 billion in new funding from other donors and the private sector to fight poverty in the areas of health, food security, and energy. 

Under this Administration, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. Government’s development finance institution, has supported more than $35 billion in private investment in developing and emerging markets.  The new projects that OPIC has supported since 2002, when the Monterrey Consensus was agreed, are expected to yield close to $82 billion in private investment. Since its establishment in 2004, the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s (MCC) $10 billion grant portfolio has leveraged nearly $5 billion in private-sector investment and more than $450 million in partner country contributions.

And in 2015, the United States, along with other development partners, launched the Addis Tax Initiative, a partnership to help developing countries better mobilize and effectively use their own domestic resources to finance development.

Transparency, accountability, and open government

Since President Obama’s first day in office, when he signed the Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government, the Administration’s policies have been rooted in the belief that greater transparency and accountability are essential to advancing progress at home and abroad.  In 2010, we launched the website to track U.S. foreign assistance which now contains now contains $30 billion of annual programming data across U.S. agencies that implement foreign assistance.  MCC has developed a state of the art capacity to conduct impact evaluations, and USAID, operationalizing its rigorous 2011 Evaluation Policy, has increased the number and quality of evaluations to over 200 per year, all of which are published online.  The U.S. has also helped advance increased transparency and accountability internationally through the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation, the International Aid Transparency Initiative, and the “Grand Bargain” crafted at the World Humanitarian Summit

President Obama in 2011 joined with seven other heads of state to launch the Open Government Partnership (OGP), a global partnership between governments and civil society to advance transparency and accountability, bolster citizen engagement, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance.  OGP now serves as a platform for reformers in 70 countries. In its first five years, OGP countries made more than 2,500 specific commitments through National Action Plans to improve governance and public participation for some two billion people worldwide. In partnership with civil society groups across the country, the United States is implementing its third national action plan with commitments across 20 U.S. agencies. 

Last year, the U.S. established the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (Global Data Partnership), a network of over 150 members from government, civil society, business, international organizations, and academia to help countries employ data to help achieve the SDGs.  MCC partnered with experts from civil society, development, philanthropic communities, and the private sector to establish the first-of-its-kind Governance Data Alliance to fill governance data gaps and ensure that the data being created meets the needs of those who use it most.  And USTDA’s Global Procurement Initiative: Understanding Best Value enables partner countries to select high-quality goods and services that foster sustainable infrastructure development in a fair and transparent manner.

Broadening partnerships

This Administration has piloted a new vision of development by leveraging an expanding array of new and non-traditional partners, including to harness cutting-edge technologies, accelerate research, and scale innovations to support sustainable development.  Founded in 2014, USAID’s Global Development Lab brings together diverse partners to find tools, innovations, and approaches that help reach development objectives more effectively and sustainably.  In partnership with other development organizations and the private sector, in 2014, USAID launched the $200 million Global Innovation Fund, which invests in piloting, testing, and scaling proven social innovations that aim to improve the lives and opportunities of millions of people in the developing world.  In 2015 alone, USAID maintained over 360 active public-private partnerships that, over their active lifetimes, have leveraged more than $5.9 billion from private sector and other partners.

The Administration has also reached beyond traditional development partners in seeking fresh thinking.  In 2012, the President established the Global Development Council to reach into the private sector, academia, and philanthropic institutions and beyond to seek out external expertise in emerging issues in global development. USAID launched the Grand Challenges for Development initiative in order to spur new ideas from new people and harness the transformational effects of science; to date, eight Grand Challenge efforts are underway tackling challenges ranging from off-grid energy to combating Zika.

Fostering Future Leadership

The next generation of leaders will ultimately be responsible for their countries’ success, and President Obama has long emphasized the importance of supporting these future leaders.  In December 2011, President Obama established the Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI), which is already helping to develop Africa’s next generations of leaders, and the Administration is supporting similar work in Southeast Asia through the Young Southeast Asian Leadership Initiative (YSEALI) and in Latin America and the Caribbean with the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI).   These programs help the next generation of leaders develop the skills and opportunities to advance their countries and regions through government leadership, strengthening civil society, and business and entrepreneurship. 

In March 2015, the President and the First Lady launched Let Girls Learn, which brings together the Department of State, USAID, the Peace Corps, and MCC to address the challenges preventing adolescent girls from attaining a quality education that empowers them to reach their full potential.  Let Girls Learn expands education opportunities for adolescent girls, including in areas of conflict and crisis.  By leveraging public-private partnerships and commitments from multilateral organizations such as the World Bank, Let Girls Learn improves the lives of adolescent girls worldwide.  Let Girls Learn extends its partnership to foreign governments, such as Canada, Mexico, Jordan, and Pakistan in this effort.  The U.S. is also collaborating closely with Japan, South Korea and the United Kingdom, who have collectively pledged nearly $600 million towards girls’ education globally.