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Friday, May 26, 2017

Isakson Reintroduces Bipartisan Legislation to Promote Private Sector Engagement in Building Developing Nations

Legislation encourages economic growth, establishes clear evaluation benchmarks

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., this week reintroduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation to make it easier for the private sector to help boost economic development, fight disease and alleviate poverty in developing nations around the globe while working as a true partner with U.S. government agencies.

The Economic Growth and Development Act, S.1274, establishes a direct relationship between U.S. development agencies and the private sector, requires consultation with the private sector when developing country strategies and calls for ongoing studies into the factors that limit private-sector growth in each country that receives U.S. assistance.

Isakson was joined in introducing the Economic Growth and Development Act by U.S. Senators Chris Coons, D-Del., and David Perdue, R-Ga. Companion legislation, H.R.2747 was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives today by U.S. Reps. Ted Yoho, R-Fla.-03, and Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash.-09.

“Developing sustained economic growth is the key to improving developing countries,” said Sen. Isakson, who is a member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. “As a businessman, I have seen the power of private investment firsthand and believe that growth through trade and investment will permanently lift developing countries out of poverty. Improved public-private coordination will result in more efficient use of U.S. foreign assistance and will help America’s small- and medium-sized businesses more easily navigate U.S. development programs to learn what tools are at their disposal to help them invest in developing countries. Additionally, this legislation would help ensure that our diplomatic initiatives are well-targeted and achieve real results.”

“Those of us who believe in and support effective U.S. foreign assistance should find innovative ways to stretch taxpayer dollars,” said Sen. Coons, a member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. “One way we can do so is by encouraging federal government agencies to collaborate with the private and non-profit sectors.  I am pleased to work together with my colleagues in the House and Senate to introduce this bipartisan bill that promotes foreign assistance partnerships with the private sector to fight poverty around the world.”

“Official development assistance makes up less than 20 percent of the resource flows into the developing world,” said Senator Perdue. “That’s why it’s so important that we improve the effectiveness of foreign assistance and make it easier for interested American companies to get involved. The leverage we can achieve with public-private partnerships will be critical given the needs of today’s world.”

“America is the most generous nation in the world when it comes to foreign aid,” said Rep. Ted Yoho, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific. “Today’s introduction of the bi-partisan Economic Growth and Development Act (EGDA) will ensure that our foreign aid dollars are used effectively and efficiently. By focusing on these objectives, we can transition recipient countries from aid to trade with the United States. I want to thank Rep. Adam Smith for joining me in introducing this bill.  I would also like to thank Senator Isakson for introducing his companion bill in the Senate as well as his co-leads, Senators Coons and Perdue. Collectively we can refocus the delivery of U.S. foreign aid so it leads down a path of shared economic prosperity for all.” 

“I am pleased to be an original co-sponsor of this this bicameral, bipartisan legislation to advance U.S. interests by creating opportunities for economic development and to improve planning and coordination of our international development efforts,” said Rep. Adam Smith.

Additionally, the legislation would require the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of Commerce, USAID, and other U.S. development agencies to coordinate with private-sector investors in countries that receive U.S. foreign assistance. Such coordination would better integrate the critical role of private investment and trade in uplifting those countries.

Full text of the legislation can be viewed here.

Background:

U.S. Sens. Isakson and Coons are co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus for Effective Foreign Assistance in the U.S. Senate along with U.S. Reps. Yoho and Smith in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Isakson previously introduced the legislation in the 112th, 113th and the 114th sessions of Congress.

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