(Joined in progress)
Governor Jennifer Granholm of Michigan
Michigan – “No Worker Left Behind,” which provides retraining for those downsized auto workers and others.
Escalation of high school curriculum so that graduating students must have taken college prep courses—has resulted in reduction in dropout rate because the community understands that this is a good thing for its students.
MI expects to create 89,000 jobs over the next decade in Alternative Energy—including the Lithium-Ion batteries that will power the hybrid and electric cars.
Governor Granholm states (recapitulation from last year) that Greenville, MI, “is determined to live up to its name” and expects to be able to sell alternative-energy generated (solar, wind, etc.) power to traditional companies.
Depend upon and expect to partner with private sector; strategic investment with the private sector has enabled Granholm to reduce the size of the State Government and maintain the state-constitutionally-required balanced budget. (Grants and Federal assistance in developing alternative energy have helped as well.) “We can lead the world,” but are facing investment from the governments of China and Korea that are already investing billions (Korea just announced $12B investment) in developing those. Granholm: “Would hate to see the development and design done here and the manufacturing done overseas.”
Rajiv Shah, US Agency for International Development (USAID)
Formerly of the Gates Foundation; father worked for three decade for Ford.
Almost every country that has emerged from extreme poverty did it by developing Ag and then moving away from an Ag-centric economy. We know that Ag-lead development is three to four times more effective than “general GDP” growth. If focus on Africa and South Asia, would (and do) know that this pathway needs to be enhanced. Despite the efforts of such as AID, local and \
Speaks well of the Green Revolution. (Muhammad Yunus, when I asked him about it at last year’s conference, was a touch more ambivalent about its success.) Notes that the Green Revolution didn’t extend to Africa because “we just failed to try.” Our agency (USAID) “has been as guilty as anyone”; real aid to Africa has declined by ca. 85%. This has resulted in child malnutrition rates rising in those countries to a 30-40% range. Ultimate result is that ca. 130MM people were moved back into poverty.
Need roads; notes that Michigan has many “FM #” roads (Farm to Market).
USAID is investing in the countries that are putting out their own efforts to develop Ag economy; more interested in working with countries that work with them to develop new businesses, including those that add verticals to existing situation, such as processing coffee beans locally, instead of having them shipped and enhanced in developed countries such as Italy.
Very happy that USAID is not needed so much to provide direct food aid; prefers to facilitate development. Most profound model is that of South Korea—which invested in agriculture and education and developed an export-led growth strategy. Went from having lower GDP per capita than Kenya to being a member of (and, this year, the host of) the G-20.
Some specific developments are soybeans in Brazil that require less nitrogen (fertilizer) to grow. Have great hope for Ghana, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Senegal—devoting resources to those countries in expectation of great returns.
Focused on reforming the procurement and investment mechanisms of USAID to make it easier to work with organizations such as the Gates Foundation and local NGOs. In the case of Haiti, developed a single form to clear all of the hurdles to approval that those local NGOs had never processed. There are many creative people in government who are employing the same entrepreneurial spirit to develop responsible and effective ways of improving resource allocation and expediting public-private partnerships to leverage the best features of both.