The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), on Tuesday, signed a USD 20 million (MVR 310 million) bilateral development agreement with Maldives.
In addition to increasing the resilience of the Maldivian economy and strengthening democratic governance, the agreement is aimed to promote inclusive and sustainable development.
The agreement was signed by USAID Mission Director for Sri Lanka and Maldives Reed Aeschliman and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Ahmed Khaleel. US Ambassador to Maldives Alaina Teplitz and Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid also attended the signing ceremony.
Ambassador Teplitz asserted that the agreement would increase cooperation between the US and Maldives.
“It underscores the US commitment to helping the people of Maldives realize their aspirations for a more stable and prosperous future”, stated Ambassador Teplitz.
The terms of the agreement outline the US commitment to supporting activities which contribute to the improvement of public finance management and the regulatory environment for trade and investment.
Under the bilateral development agreement, USAID will also work to reinforce key democratic governance institutions, empower women and youth, as well as aid in the protection of valuable marine habitats.
During the event, Ambassador Teplitz and Minister Shahid also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) extending academic exchanges conducted under the US Fulbright program.
Minister Shahid stated that the signing of the agreement and the MoU indicated enhanced cooperation between the Maldives and the US.
“This important step by the US government will increase the exchange of knowledge amongst our people and it will support the people of the Maldives in re-establishing rule of law, reforming the judiciary, tackling corruption, building the resiliency of our communities and increasing sustainable development,” asserted the Foreign Minister.
While USAID began working in Maldives during 2012, the agency has provided valuable help in strengthening government bodies, protecting maritime resources, improving public accounting systems and aiding the country to meet drinking water and energy needs,
USAID provided USD 12 million in free aid to Maldives to provide relief and reconstruction following the 2004 tsunami.