Prime Minister Hon. James Marape warmly embraces the establishment of a United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Country Representative Office within Papua New Guinea.
He also welcomed the backing of a substantial US$7.4 million (K25.4 million) from USAID. Prime Minister Marape asked USAID to ensure that this assistance aligns to the recently-launched Medium Term Development Plan IV (2023-2027).
His remarks followed a jointly convened press conference and productive bilateral meeting today with USAID Administrator H.E. Samantha Power, where announcement of the office and assistance was unveiled.
“The USAID office follows US President Joe Biden’s 2022 promise at the historic US-Pacific Island Countries’ Summit, which I attended,” Prime Minister Marape said.
The allocated US$7.4 million will serve the following pivotal purposes:
1. Launching new humanitarian initiatives to bolster preparedness and address the ongoing volcanic activities (US$5.2 million). This allocation will encompass comprehensive community-based disaster risk management, augmenting the readiness of local and provincial governmental bodies to effectively manage disasters (US$3.5 million). It will also address the pressing challenge of severe and acute malnutrition within Papua New Guinea (US$1.2 million), and extend US$500,000 to support the emergency response to the recent eruption of Mt Bagana on Bougainville.
2. Pioneering the establishment of a solar mini-grid system in Central Province (US$1.2 million).
3. Enhancing Papua New Guinea’s oxygen and laboratory ecosystems, while concurrently bolstering the nation’s COVID-19 surveillance capabilities (US$1 million).
“Today marks yet another monumental chapter in the flourishing USA-PNG alliance, characterized by the resounding announcements made by Administrator Power, underscoring the inception of the USAID Country Representative Office within PNG and the substantial US$7.4 million (K25.4 million) in vital aid,” said Prime Minister Marape.
“On behalf of the entire populace of Papua New Guinea, I extend profound gratitude to US President Joe Biden and his esteemed Administration, via USAID, for this indispensable support.
“This development encapsulates the dynamic progression of the relationship between the United States and Papua New Guinea.
“The visit by Administrator Power marks the third visit of this caliber from distinguished members of the US Cabinet, following the visits by Secretary of State H.E. Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
“Barely a few days ago, I presided over a ceremony honoring 43 of our brightest young minds, poised to embark on their academic journeys to various universities across the United States. Today’s announcement by USAID fortifies this momentum.
“This bodes exceedingly well for the collaborative journey of our two nations.”