At the Indo-Pacific Business Forum, USAID Announces New Partnerships with the U.S. Private Sector to Strengthen Economic Resilience in the Region Amid COVID-19 and Drive Increased Trade and Investment

Press Release Shim

Speeches Shim

For Immediate Release

Friday, October 30, 2020
Office of Press Relations

Between October 28 and 29, 2020, at the Indo-Pacific Business Forum hosted virtually out of Hanoi, Vietnam, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Deputy Administrator Bonnie Glick announced new initiatives, partnerships, and funding to promote economic growth led by the private sector that advances the U.S. Government’s vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

The Deputy Administrator announced that, since the 2019 Indo-Pacific Business Forum in Bangkok, Thailand, USAID has dedicated an additional $250 million to expand partnerships with governments, civil society, and the private sector in countries across the Indo-Pacific region. These investments support economic growth, including in energy, infrastructure, digital connectivity, and trade. USAID’s assistance plays a critical role in advancing the U.S. Government’s vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific by leveling the playing field for trade, improving competitiveness, and creating an enabling environment for the transparent development of infrastructure—conditions that are necessary for private enterprise to flourish and help accelerate the Journey to Self-Reliance.

At the Forum, Deputy Administrator Glick delivered public remarks during a panel discussion focused on the challenges and opportunities of the digital economy. During her remarks, Deputy Administrator Glick highlighted how USAID is a global leader in promoting the adoption by emerging economies of open, inclusive, and secure digital ecosystems and the Clean Network, which are integral to fostering sustainable, broadly shared economic growth that can end the need for foreign assistance. Speaking alongside her on the panel were senior executives from Google and AT&T, and representatives from the U.S. Trade and Development Agency and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Click here to access a video recording of the panel discussion.

Also at the Forum, Deputy Administrator Glick announced a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with a consortium of U.S. retail, apparel, and footwear companies, and industry associations to help supply-chain workers in Asia hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the MOU, the partners intend to pursue collaborative efforts to provide much-needed relief to the predominantly female workers in the companies’ supply-chains in the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, the Kingdom of Cambodia, the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. The participating companies and industry associations are Carter’s, Inc.; Gap, Inc.; Global Brands Group; Levi Strauss & Company; Nike; Tapestry; Target; VF Corporation; Walmart; the American Apparel and Footwear Association; the National Retail Federation; the Retail Industry Leaders Association; and the U.S. Fashion Industry Association. For more information, see the press release here.

The additional $250 million in assistance announced today includes the following highlights:

$3.8 million to fund the construction of a second undersea fiber-optic cable to the Republic of Palau. USAID will manage an additional $800,000 for this project from the U.S. Government’s Transaction Advisory Fund. The new cable, which will ensure reliable, secure digital connectivity in Palau, marks the first project delivered under the Trilateral Partnership for Infrastructure Investment in the Indo-Pacific between the United States, Australia, and Japan. For more information, see this State Department press release here.

$20 million toward a five-year partnership with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory within the U.S. Department of Energy to develop and deploy tools, state-of-the-art approaches, and technical assistance to scale up advanced energy systems in the region. This includes an effort with the Japan Meteorological Agency to upgrade an online platform that provides solar-resource data for Southeast Asia used by investors and decision-makers. For example, distributors and installers of solar arrays can use the high-resolution data to evaluate and invest in rooftop markets. Once completed, the platform will provide the best available solar-resource data for the region.

$18 million toward a five-year, private-sector program in Burma that will work to promote transparent, accountable, and responsible business practices. The project will facilitate responsible investment and trade in goods and services between Burma, the United States, and other partner countries, and improve domestic corporate governance; business transparency; and the competitiveness of firms that are operating in, or entering, the market in Burma.

$5 million toward an initiative in Sri Lanka, in partnership with consulting firm Stax, Inc., to promote more inclusive and sustainable growth by supporting mid-market companies. When selecting companies, the partnership will give priority to companies outside the commercial hub of Colombo and those that affect women positively. The initiative will create a platform that will serve as an ecosystem of partners, including providers of business-development services, investors, and industry bodies that can create value for these companies.

Also at the Forum, USAID Acting Assistant Administrator for Asia Javier Piedra announced new programs to advance regional energy markets in South Asia. Read the press release here. And USAID’s Mission Director in Vietnam, Ann Marie Yastishock, announced a new program to advance the country’s energy security. Read the press release here.

For additional information about USAID’s role in making the U.S. Government’s vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific region a reality, please visit USAID’s Indo-Pacific Vision