US Department of State announces new assistance programs in Central Asia

US Department of State announces new assistance programs in Central Asia

Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Nov. 2

By Demir Azizov- Trend:

The US Department of State has announced new assistance programs for Central Asia countries, said the message of the department.

"The United States of America is strongly committed to the prosperity, sovereignty, stability, and security of the five Central Asian countries as well as a vision of regional economic connectivity through its New Silk Road initiative," according to the message.

Since Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan gained independence in 1991 the United States has provided approximately $8.8 billion in assistance to programs supporting its partners in Central Asia, according to the message.

The historic C5+1 meetings in New York in September and in Samarkand on November 1 represent a significant step forward for the US-Central Asia relationship, said the message.

The new multi-year program seeks to increase the competitiveness of Central Asian economies, the state department said. This program plans to expand exports in the priority sectors of horticulture and transport/logistics in Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan with outreach to businesses and trade authorities in foreign markets including Afghanistan and Pakistan. The project also seeks to create jobs and provide private-sector skills training for youth who lack economic opportunities within Central Asia.

The United States recently hosted the fifth Central Asia Trade Forum in Almaty bringing together more than 500 entrepreneurs, traders, businessmen and policy makers to discuss the regional trade environment and conclude trade deals.

"We are committing to hold another six forums and, with a new digital interactive component, expect to more than double participation at upcoming forums and expand youth participation," said the message.

The World Bank plans to launch a new long-term climate change initiative in Central Asia, "Climate Adaptation & Mitigation Program for the Aral Sea Basin." The United States supports a partnership with the World Bank and welcomes other partners to address the trans-boundary impacts of climate change.

The new US multi-year program "Smart Waters" for the five Central Asian countries and Afghanistan seeks to build a cadre of managers capable of managing shared water resources to maximize their economic value. Smart Waters is being implemented through the Regional Environmental Center for Central Asia (CAREC).

The United States has provided more than $30 million since 2002 to support the American University of Central Asia (AUCA). "We plan to continue our strong support to AUCA through 2018 by supporting scholarships and programs to increase the university's long-term sustainability," said the state department.

The United States intends to expand the number of Muskie Internships available for Central Asian Fulbright Foreign Student Program participants in the disciplines of economics, education, environmental policy and management, international affairs, journalism and mass communication, law, library and information science, public administration, public health, and public policy.

This new three-year effort seeks to support English teachers and learners in Central Asia, providing a gateway to economic and educational opportunities. The initiative includes working with local partners on innovative approaches to expand English learning; sending up to 30 American Specialists to the region to conduct workshops, curriculum development, and teacher training.

Recognizing the importance of preserving Central Asia's rich cultural heritage, the United States, in partnership with Central Asian government and private sector partners, intends to continue to offer strong financial and programmatic support for cultural preservation projects in the region, said the message.

It was reported that creation of the C5+1 format of interaction was approved at the meeting of foreign ministers of the five Central Asian states - Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and the US secretary of state held Nov.1 in Samarkand for regular political dialogue between the foreign ministries of the six countries on issues of common interest.

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