September 23, 2004: Headlines: Staff: Congress Appointments: USAID: USAID: Africa Expert Lloyd Pierson Named to Oversee U.S. Foreign Aid to Continent

Peace Corps Online: Directory: USA: Special Report: Peace Corps Chief of Staff Lloyd Pierson: September 23, 2004: Headlines: Staff: Congress Appointments: USAID: USAID: Africa Expert Lloyd Pierson Named to Oversee U.S. Foreign Aid to Continent

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Africa Expert Lloyd Pierson Named to Oversee U.S. Foreign Aid to Continent

Africa Expert Lloyd Pierson Named to Oversee U.S. Foreign Aid to Continent

Africa Expert Lloyd Pierson Named to Oversee U.S. Foreign Aid to Continent

Africa Expert Named to Oversee U.S. Foreign Aid to Continent
Lloyd Pierson discusses development at Senate confirmation hearing

By Jim Fisher-Thompson
Washington File Staff Writer

Washington -- President Bush has chosen Lloyd Pierson, a development expert who has lived, worked and raised a family in Africa, to be the top U.S. government official in charge of overseeing more than a billion dollars in annual aid to the continent.

At his September 22 confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Pierson told presiding Africa Subcommittee Chairman Lamar Alexander (Republican of Tennessee) what he intends to do if confirmed as U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) assistant administrator for Africa: "I pledge that I will do everything in my power to assure that our assistance to Africa is as effective as possible in addressing the region's most pressing economic, social and environmental problems."

He added, "I will place a high priority on HIV/AIDS, democracy and governance, economic growth and trade, conservation, education, and addressing conflict areas on an urgent basis."

Alexander welcomed Pierson's nomination, noting that the post was previously held by Constance Newman, the new assistant secretary of state for African affairs. "I'm pleased to see the president has nominated another highly qualified and dedicated individual to serve in this important position," Alexander said.

Pierson was most recently chief of staff to the director of the Peace Corps, an agency in which he also served as a director of volunteers in five African nations: Ghana, Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland and Zimbabwe. In that role, he supervised teaching programs as well as rural development and small enterprise projects for seven years.

Following his work abroad, Pierson became Africa director at the International Republican Institute (IRI), where he helped train and organize election monitors. In 1999 he led an IRI team consisting of Colin Powell (before President Bush named him secretary of state) and House Africa Subcommittee Chairman Ed Royce (Republican of California) to observe the Nigerian presidential election.

Royce introduced Pierson to his fellow lawmakers, saying: "For Lloyd, Africa is a labor of love. I have worked with him for several years ... and I have always appreciated his insights. I know that Lloyd understands the growing importance of Africa and that he has been making a difference. In 2003, he was responsible for reopening the Peace Corps missions in Botswana and Swaziland, which are dedicated entirely to combating HIV/AIDS, a key issue for USAID."

Pierson said he planned to work closely with Ambassador Randall Tobias, whom President Bush has named to be U.S. global AIDS coordinator, to implement the president's $15 billion initiative to fight AIDS in 15 countries, 12 of which are in sub-Saharan Africa.

Royce also remarked on Pierson's managerial abilities: "Throughout his career, Lloyd has been noted for his management skills and efficiency. These are valuable attributes, given the resource restraints we always face."

During his time at the Peace Corps, Pierson helped put the agency on a firm financial footing that convinced skeptics in Congress that foreign assistance and volunteer work could be a sound investment in both international development and good will.

He told the Senate committee that he planned to concentrate on several new management priorities at USAID. "First, I have a sincere appreciation that the monies supporting our foreign assistance programs are hard-earned taxpayer dollars," he said. "I will give very strong attention to how the money is being used and what the results are.

"Second, I strongly support efforts to harmonize our assistance with that of other donors whenever possible, to increase our overall impact. I also support efforts to further align our assistance programs with host-country priorities. The world is strewn with well-intentioned development projects that failed because they did not respond to recipient needs and were soon forgotten once the donor moved on."

Created: 23 Sep 2004 Updated: 23 Sep 2004

When this story was posted in December 2004, this was on the front page of PCOL:

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Rumors are swirling that Peace Corps Director Vasquez may be leaving the administration. We think Director Vasquez has been doing a good job and if he decides to stay to the end of the administration, he could possibly have the same sort of impact as a Loret Ruppe Miller. If Vasquez has decided to leave, then Bob Taft, Peter McPherson, Chris Shays, or Jody Olsen would be good candidates to run the agency. Latest: For the record, Peace Corps has no comment on the rumors.

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Story Source: USAID

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