The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the US Government recently organized a ceremony in Jakarta to review the ASEAN – USAID cooperation with several projects worth more than USD 26 million rolled out in five years, VNA reported.
The projects, implemented since 2018, included the ASEAN – USAID Inclusive Growth in ASEAN Through Innovation, Trade and E-commerce (IGNITE), ASEAN – USAID Partnership for Regional Optimisation within the Political-Security and Socio-Cultural Communities (PROSPECT) and ASEAN Policy Implementation projects funded by the USAID and the US Department of State.
|The United States government, through the USAID, and the ASEAN, celebrated impactful results delivered through ASEAN-U.S. development cooperation totaling more than USD 26 million over the last five years. Source: asean.org
More than 100 government officials, policymakers, entrepreneurs, representatives from civil society organizations and the private sector participated to reflect on shared successes of the ASEAN-USAID Inclusive Growth in ASEAN through IGNITE, Partnership for Regional Optimization within the PROSPECT, and the ASEAN Policy Implementation (API) projects funded by USAID and the US State Department.
In his speech at the ceremony, ASEAN Secretary General Kao Kim Hourn spoke highly of the achievements of the API, IGNITE, and PROSPECT, expressing his wish for further collaboration amidst deepened trade and investment ties between the two sides.
He laid stress on the significance of enhancing cooperation in key emerging areas such as transportation, transnational crime, women empowerment, health, climate, environment, and energy, including through engagement at the ministerial level.
He further underscored the relevance of advancing human capital development in the region and strengthening people-to-people contacts, including through the expansion of the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI), the United States-ASEAN Fulbright Scholarship Initiative, and the United States–ASEAN Institute for Rising Leaders Fellowship.
For more than four decades, USAID has worked closely with ASEAN and its Member States across Southeast Asia. While the ASEAN-USAID PROSPECT, IGNITE, and API projects will phase out, the collaboration will continue through a new program, which will be announced later this year.
The IGNITE, PROSPECT, and API projects contributed to promoting sustainable, inclusive, and rules-based economic growth, expanding rights and opportunities for women and youths, building regional policies to settle common challenges, and supporting the national-level implementation of approved initiatives.
|At the ceremony. Photo: VNA
For his part, US Ambassador to ASEAN Yohannes A. Abraham said that the success of the projects demonstrated the US’s commitment to an empowered ASEAN and long-term partnership with the bloc based on common values, helping the region become more prosperous and safer that could bring benefits to the one billion people in the region.
As a partner of ASEAN, the US wants to continue consolidating the central role of ASEAN for a Southeast Asian region of openness, connectivity, and resilience, he stressed.
Over the past 40 years, USAID has worked closely with ASEAN and its member states on the shared goals of stability, prosperity, and peace in Southeast Asia.