Mark Lopes is Deputy Assistant Administrator for Latin America and Caribbean

This originally appeared on Chilean International Cooperation Agency’s website

Success for Latin America and the Caribbean means that the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) must work itself out of a job.  Our goal is to set the stage for people to prosper – economically, independently, and institutionally.  We want to support governments and civil society to make this a reality.  Maybe the biggest change in the Latin American and Caribbean region in the last decade, is that we is much bigger than us, and our ability to help is therefore greater than ever.

In the era of scarce expertise and few resources, USAID may have worked alone.  Today, with public and private resources flowing faster and farther in every direction, and governments in the region with broad evidence of success, USAID has adjusted what we mean by we.  Now, it means everyone with a stake in the outcome and anyone with something to offer.  After all, isn’t it better to learn from those who have succeeded through similar challenges?

Enter Chile, Colombia, and Brazil –trendsetters in the region in many respects.  In terms of development progress, they have much to offer. Through trilateral cooperation, if a country has expertise that other countries in the region can benefit from, USAID is happy to be a connector, contributor, and facilitator in that process.

In recent years, Chile, in partnership with USAID, served as a trainer for counterparts at the Paraguayan customs agency, showcasing the Chilean experience as a model.  The three countries worked together to strengthen the internal controls of the agency.  Similarly, the three partnered to help Paraguay improve its export promotion agency: USAID supported the development of a registry of exporting firms; Chile shared its export promotion capability by providing training; and Paraguay implemented a web-enabled database for the export registry and data from Customs.

This year, Chile and the United States will improve livestock health and food safety in El Salvador.  Similar arrangements in areas ranging from violence against women to agricultural technology are evolving with Brazil in Haiti and with Colombia in Guatemala.

USAID wants to exhaust the ability of every country in the Americas to learn from any country in the Americas.  When we do that, and when people can thrive on their own, USAID programs can shut down.  When this happens, we all have a reason to celebrate.