US and USAID continues to support Myanmar buildup process

Gayle Smith, Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), talks during a news conference at the US Embassy in Yangon, Myanmar, 03 May 2016. Photo: Nyein Chan Naing/EPA

The new Ambassador of the United States of America Scot Marciel has emphasized his will to support Myanmar in a huge buildup process in his welcome-speech at his residence in Yangon on 3 May. He took over the position from the former ambassador Derek Mitchell a few months ago. On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day he underlined the importance of a free and independent press for a democratic society.

Gayle Smith, the new administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), joined the speech and highlighted the historical moment the country stands in: "I think, we are all aware that there is something bigger than all of us happening here." She also emphasized the importance of freedom of dialog and exchange and insured the country support. Gayle Smith arrived in Myanmar on 30th April and travelled through the country to meet leaders from civil society, government, and the private sector. The people she met had made a great impression on her, she said: "I think, that all the needs for success are inside these borders."

During her first visit to Myanmar, she met with leaders from civil society, government and the private sector from all over the country. At the final stop of her four day tour in Yangon, she emphasized the importance of the agricultural sector for the development of the country: " I have been able to see projects with USAID local partners providing new techniques for agriculture, that demonstrate not only  the enormous potential of the agricultural sector here but also enabled me to meet with local farmers and to see the willingness and the ability to organize and bring together those tools that can change the agricultural sector and the situation of the farmers. A change in this sector will not only improve the life of the farmers, but also the economy and the nation at large given to the significant number of people who work in the agricultural sector,” she says.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is the lead development agency of the United States providing development aid all over the world. After years of military rule USAID re-opened its mission in Myanmar in 2012. Gayle Smith took over from her predecessor Rajiv Shah in December last year. USAID supported Myanmar during the election and maintains several projects in the country, including providing farmers technical and financial support to improve their business and fight hunger.

Gayle Smith stressed her willingness to continue with these projects: " Chris Milligan started this mission in 2012 and had a great effect in providing support in development, democratic reform and national reconciliation and we intend to deepen and expand this mission again in partnership with people in the country."

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