Information News

J. Joksimović: USAID donates another USD 22 million to Serbia for reforms

April 12 2021 | Belgrade

J. Joksimović: USAID donates another USD 22 million to Serbia for reforms

The Ministry of European Integration and the U.S. Government have signed today an amendment to the development partnership agreement, under which the USAID will donate USD 22 million to Serbia this year for reforms – improvement of the economy, energy efficiency, media environment, providing services to citizens, and preventing brain drain.

After Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović and USAID representative to Serbia Shanley Pinchotti signed the amendment, U.S. Ambassador Anthony Godfrey has said that more than USD 840 million has been invested in the implementation of reforms over the past two decades of strong partnership between Serbia and the USAID.

According to the Ambassador, a lot has been achieved in that period. Economic development has been improved, which, according to him, has reflected on the citizens’ well-being.

He has recalled that the funds have been used to implement projects that are important for the life of citizens. Hospitals and schools have been built, local media have been strengthened, and people with disabilities have received help in acquiring new skills and finding new jobs.

“We have removed many legal and administrative obstacles to business activity, which has enabled easier opening of companies and made Serbia attractive to investors; our partnership has helped Serbian companies to connect with the foreign ones, breathing life into new economic sectors and opening thousands of new jobs”, said the Ambassador.

Godfrey has noted that through strong partnership a lot can be achieved.

The USD 22 million package is intended to help make Serbia’s economy more competitive, and will be used to improve the efficiency of administration in providing services to citizens, improve media environment so that citizens would have access to accurate information, assist civil society, improve energy security so that households would have lower heating bills, and to provide support in the fight against COVID-19.

Minister Joksimović has thanked the U.S. and the USAID, stating that she expects the good cooperation to continue as it is immeasurable in numerous aspects.

“We hope to receive support in the continuation of European integration and further structural reforms. We have a lot of work to do particularly in the rule of law, as well as regarding the stabilisation and preservation of economic environment and in terms of tackling the effects of the pandemic. All projects that have been implemented in the domain of strengthening institutions, democratic capacities, civil society, vulnerable groups, their better inclusion, as well as in the area of inclusive growth, have been a part of our structural reforms, and the U.S. support, both political and financial, has been immeasurable in that process”, said Joksimović.

According to her, USD 22 million will be used for strengthening democratic institutions, making public administration available to citizens, and achieving balanced regional development, including the employment of less employable groups.

The Acting Director of the USAID Mission to Serbia has presented the new USAID’s five-year work strategy, which envisages assistance to Serbia’s European integration.

“The USAID will strive to create a positive change that will further promote the improvement of the transparency and efficiency of the public administration”, said Pinchotti, adding that it will help Serbia advance on its European integration path.

“We in the USAID have an inside joke that our job is to try to put ourselves out of a job. I hope that together we will achieve this in the next five years, and get close to the day when we would say that we have accomplished our mission, because Serbia has done a lot and has become an EU member, when we would pat each other on the back and close shop”, noted Pinchotti.

Since 2001, the USAID has provided more than USD 1.1 billion in grants to Serbia, of which 840 million has been invested through the USAID into activities related to the implementation of reforms, as well as into cooperation with state institutions, private companies and civil society.

Source: Tanjug