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Monday, April 22, 2024

USAID chief pledges $20 million in additional help for Sri Lanka

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The Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) on Sunday announced a $60 million funding package for Sri Lanka while highlighting that assistance alone will not put an end to the country’s problems.

USAID chief Samantha Power said it would provide $40 million for fertilizer imports and $20 million for humanitarian needs to tackle the country’s financial crisis.

“I want to reiterate that the United States is right here standing with you in your hour of need,” she said during a press conference in Colombo on Sunday.

“Yesterday I announced that the United States is providing an additional USD 40 million to get fertilizer into the hands of as many as one million farmers ahead of the upcoming planting season. Crucial assistance that will meaningfully boost the country’s harvest production and yields.”

“Today I am pleased to announce an additional USD 20 million to provide humanitarian assistance to Sri Lankans battling hunger and malnutrition throughout the country.”

With these new announcements the United States has now committed nearly USD 240 million since June this year to meet the urgent needs of Sri Lankans, Power said. “Money that is being used today to get food to the most vulnerable, support meals for children in the country’s schools, help farmers plant new fields and make sure mothers and newborns are adequately nourished.”

“The United States has long stood with the people of Sri Lanka, Asia’s oldest democracy, and this latest assistance demonstrates that we will continue to do so,” she said.

However, the USAID chief emphasized that assistance alone will not put an end to this country’s woes.

“I stressed to the Sri Lankan President in my meeting earlier today that political reforms and political accountability must go hand in hand with the economic reforms and economic accountability.”

Sri Lanka’s vibrant civil society must have the space that they need to raise their voices and hold the government accountable, she stressed.

She said international investor confidence will increase as the government tackles corruption and proceeds with long sought governance reforms. “As citizens see the government visibly following through on the commitment to bring about meaningful change that in turn will increase societal support for the tough economic reforms ahead.”

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