USAID has announced an additional $441 million to expand partnerships with governments, civil society, and the private sector in countries in the Indo-Pacific region in support of activities in energy, infrastructure, digital connectivity, trade, and other economic activities.
These new programs support the U.S. Government’s Indo-Pacific Strategy, the goals of which are to create a region that is peaceful and secure, and in which countries are sovereign; to promote economic growth led by the private sector; and to bolster citizen-responsive governance that facilitates private investment by making economies open, transparent, and rules-based.
The new assistance includes the following key highlights:
- Under the U.S. Government’s Asia EDGE (Enhancing Development and Growth through Energy) initiative, USAID signed an agreement with the Asian Development Bank for $200 million to increase access to energy, promote trade and the diversification of energy sources, and strengthen energy security across the region. The partnership is expected to mobilize up to $7 billion in public and private investment to achieve its goals.
- As part of the U.S. Government’s cooperation with the Governments of Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and Papua New Guinea to increase Papua New Guinea’s electrification from 13 percent to 70 percent by the year 2030, USAID has entered into a unique partnership with Houston-based GE Power in which USAID’s investment of $950,000 is expected to leverage $75 million of public and private investment.
- Under the Infrastructure Transaction and Assistance Network (ITAN) initiative and Asia EDGE, the Agency is working with a New York-based company, Convalt Energy, to explore new solar and hydropower infrastructure projects in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic that will help further energy-connectivity in Southeast Asia. ITAN proposes to link the Lao and Vietnamese electricity grids via a new high-voltage transmission line, which is critical for energy security and the trading of power in the Mekong region.
- As part of the U.S. Government’s Digital Connectivity and Cybersecurity Partnership (DCCP), USAID launched its Digital Asia Accelerator. Working with U.S. tech companies and universities, the project will enhance digital and cybersecurity skills among private enterprises and civil society in Southeast Asia. The project supports the digital-economy efforts of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and according to a 2015 report by American consulting firm A.T. Kearney, a digital transformation within the ASEAN region alone could lift the region’s GDP by $1 trillion by 2025.