Briefing With Director of the State Department’s Office of U.S. Foreign Assistance Resources James Richardson

Briefing With Director of the State Department’s Office of U.S. Foreign Assistance Resources James Richardson


MR BROWN:  Good morning, everybody, and welcome to a briefing call on U.S. leadership and the international response to COVID-19.  The United States has been a leader in global efforts to combat the pandemic and continues to provide assistance to stimulate response and recovery efforts and to develop a vaccine.  We welcome all serious efforts from the global community to do the same.  We have two senior administration officials joining us to provide a bit more context and detail to U.S. global efforts to combat COVID-19.

We’ll begin with Jim Richardson, who will have some opening on-the-record remarks.

A reminder that the contents of the briefing are embargoed until the end of the call, so with that, we’ll start with Jim’s on-the-record remarks.  Jim, please go ahead.

MR RICHARDSON:  Great.  Thanks, Cale, appreciate it.  Thanks so much.  So thanks to the generosity of the American people, and leadership of President Trump and Secretary Pompeo, the United States continues to be the undisputed leader in foreign assistance.  Having invested nearly half a trillion dollars in the developing world over the past 20 years, the United States focuses heavily in health security and humanitarian assistance, saving lives in countries spanning the globe.

Instead of importing thousands of workers to build on unsustainable projects that truly only benefit the bottom line of corporate entities in exchange for mortgaging national treasures, the United States has been focused on winning the fight against Ebola, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and other infectious diseases, and we’re doing the same in the fight against COVID-19.  Each year the United States contributes close to 40 percent of the world’s global health assistance, which is nearly five times larger than the next largest donor, and more than 20 times more than China.

Months into fighting this pandemic at home and abroad, the United States remains the single largest country donor to the response efforts globally, building on our decades of leadership and experience.  So far, the Department of State and USAID have committed more than $775 million dollars in emergency health, humanitarian, economic, and development assistance, specifically aimed at helping governments, international organizations, and NGOs fight the pandemic.

The State Department, USAID, HHS, CDC, DOD, among others, are working together as part of an “All of America” international response, with nearly $2.4 billion in emergency supplemental funding provided by Congress.  The United States Government is the single largest donor to the global COVID-19 response, accounting for 39 percent of all global government and multilateral aid.

To put this in perspective, again, this is twice as much as the next highest donor and almost 50 times more than China.  But this is just part of the story.  We have truly mobilized as a nation to combat this disease both at home and abroad.  By battling the virus on home front, the American people have – sorry, the American people have remained the greatest humanitarians the world has ever known.  Together, private American businesses, non-profits, charities, and individuals have provided nearly $4 billion in donations and assistance, in addition to what our government has provided.

This is nearly 80 percent of the global philanthropic efforts to combat COVID-19.  We truly are in a league of our own.  Altogether, Americans have provided nearly $6.5 billion in government and non-government assistance and donations to the global effort, accounting for nearly 60 percent of global totals.  As all of these numbers prove and as the Secretary Pompeo was so fond of saying, the United States is riding to the sounds of the gun, boldly heading into the fight to stop this pandemic; retreat is simply not an option.

As the world’s largest provider of COVID-19 assistance, the United States strongly encourages and welcomes all serious – meaning transparent-type quality and no-strings attached – efforts to – from the global community to do the same.

In addition to health and humanitarian and economic foreign assistance, the United States is also leading the effort to develop a vaccine and diagnostics to help end the pandemic.  So far, the United States has devoted more than $2.6 billion toward vaccine research and development through the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, known as BARDA. This is on top of the $7 billion the American private sector has invested towards research in developing COVID-19 vaccines and therapies as well.

When it comes to multilateral organizations, they all heavily rely on U.S. Government and private American funding as well.  Over the past 20 years, the United States has contributed more to global health than the World Bank, the UK, and EU institutions combined.  Over the past 10 years alone, the United States has provided 3.2 billion to the World Health Organization, 1.8 billion to GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, and 13.6 billion to the Global Fund.

This year, the Trump administration has announced a new multi-year $1.16 billion pledge – the largest ever for the United States – for GAVI’s upcoming strategic replenishment cycle, furthering our commitment to ending preventable childhood deaths and strengthening routine immunization against outbreak-prone diseases.

As we have for decades, the United States stands ready to collaborate and cooperate with all partners and international organizations that demonstrate they are effective in executing global health programming and delivering solutions and results to that end.  And we are doing the same today with COVID-19.

As I said, the United States welcomes all high-quality, transparent, no-strings-attached contributions from every serious donor in the world to help fight this pandemic.