USAID teams innovate to find $1B in aid for developing countries

Wednesday - 6/18/2014, 2:50pm EDT

Listen to our interview with Jason Fleming, the Latin America/Caribbean and Europe and Eurasia Team Leader at USAID's Development Credit Authority. Shown here are, from left, Fleming, Amanda Femal, Anthony Cotton and JP Gibbons. (Photo by Sam Kittner/Kittner.com) Amanda Femal, Anthony Cotton and JP Gibbons

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It's not easy to build a hospital without any money. So the U.S. Agency for International Development is helping build hospitals and medical centers around the world by channeling smart investments through commercial banks in developing countries.

Recently, USAID's Africa team struck a deal with a bank in Kenya to guarantee $10 million in loans to pay for new equipment like MRI machines and incubators for 50 private hospitals, labs and clinics.

"This is a very revolutionary way of doing development. They did an incredible job of reorienting the thinking of financial institutions," said Franklin Moore, deputy assistant administrator in the agency's African bureau. "Development credit was a new idea at USAID, a new way to do things."

USAID's 19 investment specialists have rooted out financing in other areas as well, from Asia and Eastern Europe to Latin America and the Middle East. In the past 12 years, the Development Credit Authority Transaction Teams have mobilized $2.1 billion in loans.

For their efforts in generating almost $1 billion in aid in the past two years for 60 projects in 42 developing countries, the Partnership for Public Service recently named the DCA Transaction Teams as finalists for the 2014 Call to Service Medal. The award recognizes federal employees for professional achievements that demonstrate important contributions being made by a new generation coming into public service.

Getting to know Jason Fleming

Federal News Radio asked each of the Sammies finalists questions about themselves. Jason Fleming, the Latin America-Caribbean and Europe-Eurasia Team Leader of the Development Credit Authority, shared his responses:

What three words best describe your leadership philosophy?

  1. Gratitude - to always be grateful to one's colleagues
  2. Calmness - to master one's emotions
  3. Listen - to seek first to understand

What's the best piece of advice (or words of wisdom) you've ever received and who gave it to you?
There's nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of their life. Ecclesiastes (author unknown).

Who is your greatest role model and why?
Anyone who is a professional in whatever line of work he/she is in, meaning anyone who has mastered her/his profession through discipline and who simultaneously derives genuine enjoyment from his/her work.

What's the last thing you read and what's next on your reading list?
"South of Broad" by Pat Conroy was the last book that I couldn't put down. I'm always on the look out for new releases from him, or a James Michener saga.

What would be the title of your autobiography and why?
Wow tough question. I doubt I'll write an autobiography. If I'm fortunate enough to have a few grandchildren, maybe I'd just pass down a few untitled tips.

The Call to Service Medal is just one of the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals (Sammies) presented annually by the Partnership for Public Service. View a photo gallery of all the Sammies nominees.