Agency Notice from the Administrator: USAID’s Response to Great Power Competition: The Clear Choice Framework

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    Ven Suresh

    As the President’s National Security Strategy (NSS) recognizes, we operate in an era of renewed Great Power competition. In this environment, the Bureau for Policy, Planning and Learning (PPL) is leading an effort to ensure that the United States strengthens and sustains its global leadership in development and humanitarian assistance. At the heart of this effort is the “Clear Choice Framework,” an internal reference that will be reflected externally in Regional Strategies and that will bolster the role of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in accomplishing the central goals of the NSS, U.S. State Department-USAID Joint Strategic Plan, and the Foreign Assistance Realignment. As I highlighted last week at the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition’s Annual Tribute Dinner, we see two basic approaches to development and humanitarian assistance: the Journey to Self-Reliance and a competing authoritarian model. The Clear Choice Framework ensures that our work to advance self-reliance in partner countries includes fostering the capacity of governments, civil society, and the private sector to make informed decisions about their choice of approaches and partners. In contrast to the authoritarian model, the Journey to Self-Reliance:

    Promotes strategic partnerships, not strategic dependence:
    -Advocates enterprise-driven development to build resilient market economies, not state-subsidized development that often leads to unsustainable debt;
    -Promotes transparent, citizen-responsive governance, and advances democratic norms and institutions, not authoritarian regimes that enrich a few; and
    -Strengthens the resilience of vulnerable communities and imperiled environments, rather than undermining local capacity, resources, and natural heritage.

    USAID will advance the Clear Choice Framework by doing the following:
    -Projecting clear and consistent messaging to emphasize a country’s Journey to Self-Reliance and strategic partnership, tailored to regional and country contexts;
    -Developing strategic programming to counter the influence of competitors and malign actors; and
    -Aligning strategic efforts and relations with shared concerns and commitments (e.g., energy, digital, infrastructures).

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