We Stand With Nepal: USAID Chief

Feb 8, Kathmandu:  The head of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Samantha Power, has expressed her commitment to stand with Nepal by announcing an aid of around 7.5 billion rupees.

She has announced 68.5 million US dollars (about 7.5 billion rupees) to strengthen Nepal's democratic institutions and civil society, support civil society and media, strengthen local elections and rule of law, and fight against human trafficking.

Power, who came on a two-day visit to Nepal on Tuesday, announced the aid amount at a program held at Patan in Lalitpur on the first day. Of the declared 68.5 million dollars, 1.83 million is new. The remaining amount is from the $659 million agreed upon in 2022.

The declared amount includes up to 20 million dollars to strengthen inclusive democracy and prosperity by supporting regional and local governments to provide public services in a more transparent and accountable manner. Up to $18.5 million is included to support independent civil society organizations.

Stating that USAID has been supporting Nepal for 6 decades, Power also said that America is the first foreign country to provide financial support to Nepal. She expressed her belief that USAID's investment will help Nepal to strengthen its democratic achievements by strengthening public financial management, independent civil society and media, democratic processes and institutions, rule of law, and private sector development and bring greater prosperity to Nepalis.

In a program held in Patan, Foreign Minister Vimala Rai Paudyal emphasized on the implementation of the project funded by the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). He said that after Nepal's parliament approved the MCC agreement last year, work on road and energy expansion projects has progressed. Minister Paudyal emphasized that the project should be implemented within the stipulated time. She thanked the US for helping Nepal become a member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee for the second time in a row.

Minister Paudyal expressed her gratitude to the main power of USAID for their support in the social and economic sectors of Nepal. "We have received support (through USAID) in the fields of health, education, transport, communication, agriculture, environment, etc.," she said.

Nepal is said to be upgraded from an underdeveloped country after 2026. This upgrade is an important aspect for us. The belief is that America will support Nepal with the necessary resources in the transitional strategy. Foreign Minister Paudyal and Chief Samantha Pawar also had a meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at Singhdarbar on Tuesday.

Minister Paudyal's Secretariat said that during the meeting, the implementation of the MCC project, climate change, assistance to be provided after Nepal's upgradation from Least Developed Country (LDC) to developed country, etc. was discussed. Minister Paudyal thanked the American government for its support of Nepal. Power promised to increase the support from the US government. Power is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Wednesday. She will return on Wednesday evening.