Tuesday, October 2, 2012

USAID readies for business in Burma

Tuesday, 02 October 2012 14:10 Mizzima News

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) mission in Rangoon wants to start projects in Burma “as quickly as possible,” said local USAID director Chris Milligan.

The USAID Burma budget has been about US$ 38 million in recent years, making it one of the larger bilateral donors, while it also provided about $85 million following Cyclone Nargis, according to an article in the Myanmar Times this week.

Chris Milligan speaks following his swearing-in as mission director to Burma. Photo: Patricia Adams / USAID

“In the past we had a limited level of engagement and our program met more immediate needs. Now we can focus on the longer-term development challenges … deepen political and economic reforms and also deepen the participation in those reforms,” said Milligan.

An initial project will be a food security and agriculture assessment, the first phase of which is scheduled to begin in October. Other possible recipients of USAID funding are multi-donor trusts, such as the Three Millennium Development Goals fund and the Livelihoods and Food Security Trust fund, better known as LIFT.

“We’re currently reviewing that … [we’ll do it] if it’s possible,” Mulligan said.

The Washington-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies said in a recent report that the US government’s aid program should focus particularly on rule of law, transparency, and policies to govern the economy, protect the environment, and rein in corruption.

It also recommended the US government coordinate with other donors to “leverage its support and provide targeted assistance,” while also “join forces” with the private sector “to increase the funding available for these aid programs.”

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