Building on a long legacy of support for the aspirations of the Burmese people, the United States is providing assistance to deepen and accelerate Burma’s political, economic, and social transition; promote and strengthen respect for human rights; deliver the benefits of reform to the country’s people; and support the development of a stable society that reflects the diversity of all its people. Total U.S. Assistance to Burma since 2012 is estimated at $202,185,000.
Support for Burma’s Reforms
U.S. assistance to Burma has increased steadily since 2011, reflecting the U.S. Government’s support for Burma’s political and economic transition. In addition to the reopening of the USAID Mission in Burma in 2012, many other U.S. agencies are providing assistance, including the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of the Treasury, and U.S. Trade and Development Agency.
A Partnership Approach: U.S. assistance also mobilizes the unique assets of U.S. society, building public-private partnerships with U.S. businesses, linking U.S. universities and research centers to development projects, engaging civil society and the Burmese diaspora in the United States, and encouraging the Burmese private sector to invest in its own transition and growth. The U.S. Embassy has launched over 20 public-private partnerships with U.S. and Burmese institutions of higher education; businesses, including Microsoft, Exxon, Hewlett Packard, Cisco, the Gap, Google, Intel, Proctor & Gamble, and Johnson & Johnson; and private foundations, including the Gates Foundation, The Henry Luce Foundation and Vina Capital Foundation, who all support small and medium enterprise development, improve healthcare delivery, and bring new technologies to Burma.
Assistance is targeted to five key goals:
U.S. assistance improves the lives of millions across Burma. Programs aim to reduce “under-five child mortality and transmission of high burden infectious diseases. U.S. support has:
The United States believes that responsible investment will promote economic reform, inclusive economic development, and the welfare of the Burmese people.
• Partnering with the private sector, other governments, donors, and civil society, U.S. assistance aims to significantly reduce poverty in targeted areas in the next five years. U.S. support will reach 350,000 farm households with new technologies and launch a value chain program to develop the rural economies and build the technical capacity of small holder farmers. This will build on previous efforts has improved the food security of 1,600 rural villages, or more than 2 million citizens.
• U.S. assistance targets the growth and development of small- and medium enterprises by ensuring that entrepreneurs have access to training, technology, and networks so that they can grow their businesses and generate employment opportunities.
• U.S. assistance promotes internationally recognized labor rights technical assistance programs that highlight freedom of association, build the organizational and representational capacity of trade unions and other civil society organizations, and promote improved economic literacy.
• The U.S. Government’s Commercial Law Development Program advised the Burmese Government on the draft Foreign Investment Law and draft laws related to small and medium enterprises and telecommunications, incorporating technical advice from several U.S. Government agencies. The U.S. Government is providing further technical advice on draft copyright and trademark legislation, and on efforts to increase the Burmese Government’s capacity to protect and enforce intellectual property rights. Additional assistance targets budget and financial accountability, revenue policy and administration, and countering economic crimes.
• Through the Energy Governance and Capacity Initiative, the United States is providing technical assistance for the implementation of international best practices in oil and gas management and oversight, financial accountability, and safety and environmental stewardship.
• The U.S. Government organized a civil aviation reverse trade mission in February 2014 introduced Burmese Government and business leaders to best practices and technologies in the U.S. aviation sector. The U.S. Government is organizing a second reverse trade mission focused on gas-fired power development in October 2014, and evaluating project-specific technical assistance requests in this sector for funding consideration. Several government agencies will also provide new expert assistance to the Government of Burma on “best value” procurement practices, through the Global Procurement Initiative.
As chair of the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2014, Burma plays an important role in promoting regional peace and stability as well as economic and social development.