USAID chief Samantha Power: Getting shots 'into arms' can restore US global leadership

USAID chief Samantha Power: Getting shots 'into arms' can restore US global leadership
© Greg Nash

Administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Samantha PowerSamantha PowerUSAID's 0 million Global VAX initiative can work, but only if it pays for shots in arms Overnight Health Care — Biden mandate faces Dem resistance US investing 5 million in vaccine delivery for lower-income countries MORE said in an interview published on Tuesday that she wishes to restore the prestige of the U.S. by getting vaccines administered in countries around the world.

Speaking to Washington Post senior national security correspondent Karen DeYoung, Power, a former ambassador to the United Nations, said she wanted to revive USAID's power and responsibility, which DeYoung said has waned since it was created in the 1960s.

According to Power, part of this goal could be realized if USAID “is unleashed to design programs around getting vaccines into arms in countries where we’ve worked for generations, for 60 years.”

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In a contrast with China, which moves with "big checkbooks," Power said, "We partner with civil society. We believe in a free and open internet. We have a private sector that is really what so many of these communities most want to see investing on the ground."

“We don’t have a predatory model," she said. "We’re not deforesting the countries and contributing to climate change. Empowering communities to take charge of their own destinies, that’s what people most want."

"So I think when USAID is unleashed to bring that expertise to bear, if we resource it adequately, as we step up, particularly on COVID[-19] ... I think you could start to see a recalibration in terms of what the different agencies do and where some of these authorities lie," she added.

Power, an English-born former war correspondent and activist, was confirmed by the Senate in late April in a 69-26 vote.