U.S. Ambassador Atul Keshap said that U.S. Government assistance to Sri Lanka totaled approximately $40 million last year and they had requested similar amounts in the coming years as a result of Sri Lanka's commitment to good governance.
He said the Millennium Challenge Corporation was working to design a threshold program that can potentially unlock millions of dollars in additional assistance to boost economic growth in Sri Lanka.
“American relations with Sri Lanka are at an all-time high. As President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe lead their government in moving ahead with needed constitutional reform, reconciliation, and fulfilling their United Nations commitments, we on the part of the American government will also continue to partner with your government as it works to rebuild the economy, advance good governance, and ensure that all Sri Lankans can enjoy equal rights, equal opportunities and the full benefits of post-conflict development regardless of their ethnicity or origins,” Mr. Keshap said.
He expressed these views in Polonnaruwa last Thursday during the four-day visit by Director of the Office of U.S. Foreign Assistance Resources Hari Sastry and Director for F/SCA Brendan Dallas.
He said that “Earlier this year, our two governments launched the U.S.-Sri Lanka Partnership Dialogue, which expands and reinforces our whole-of-government cooperation in development, governance, energy, trade, and security. Just last week, the United States House of Representatives Democracy Partnership Staff Delegation wrapped up a visit to Colombo, during which they successfully laid the groundwork for the Sri Lankan Parliament to join the program that works directly with 17 partner legislatures and parliaments around the world to support peer-to-peer exchanges and training seminars between partner legislatures.”
Mr. Keshap said the United States Agency for International Development was providing funding as well as technical and managerial assistance to small and medium scale entrepreneurs in Polonnaruwa district, to develop their enterprises, create jobs and strengthen economic growth in the region.
“We are working with the government and the private sector to improve traditional farming practices, ensure food security and strengthen livelihood opportunities in dairy, poultry and horticulture for more than 3,000 families, especially those of small scale farmers,” he said.
He said they also planned to develop several new programs at the request of the Sri Lankan government to include programming in the sectors of youth employment, public finance management, strengthening governance, and improving the business climate for foreign investment.