Good afternoon, Ambassador Michael McKinley, U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, HE Humayoon Rasaw, Minister of Commerce and Industries, HE Eklil Ahmad Hakimi, Minister of Finance, distinguished guests. I am pleased to welcome you here to the American Embassy for the launch of the Afghanistan Investment Climate Reform program, continuing the important work USAID and the IFC/World Bank Group have undertaken to strengthen the business climate in Afghanistan.
Greetings, opening remarks and formalities
Today we are celebrating an important event – and reminding ourselves to stay focused on ensuring becoming a mother is an occasion of joy, not tragedy.
Reducing maternal, neonatal and child mortality and morbidity remain among the highest priorities of the Ministry of Public Health and of the United States Agency for International Development both here in Afghanistan and globally.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good morning. I am very pleased to be here at today’s event. I congratulate the Ministry of Public Health for launching the Health Economic Exchange Forum.
Afghanistan has made remarkable achievements over the last 12 years, some of the most dramatic of which are in the growing access to health care services and the resulting improvement in health outcomes. Thanks to the dedication and professionalism of the Ministry of Public Health, and with the support of USAID and the international community, maternal mortality rates in Afghanistan have declined by 80 percent and child mortality rates by almost 50 percent.
I’m delighted to see all of you here, coming together to address climate change, one of the most critical challenges facing our planet. You gather in this beautiful town at an auspicious time, as later this year the world’s leaders will gather in Paris to develop a new global strategy to address climate change.
On behalf of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), I would like to congratulate the Provincial Government of Leyte for the newly established Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office that will be inaugurated today. It is an honor to be here with you to celebrate this milestone as you work towards a climate resilient Leyte.
One of the most common questions I have received over the past eight months has been, “after more than 30 years in the army — and having served as ambassador to Tanzania, why did you come to USAID?” Well to me, the answer is simple. Having deployed across the world, I have seen how the United States’ development efforts represent the vanguard of our national and economic security.
Because time and again, we have seen the intersection of extreme ideology, extreme poverty, and extreme climate routinely push millions of people to the edge of survival and challenge our collective security. To confront these realities, USAID is focusing — as an agency — with renewed energy on answering President Obama’s call to end extreme poverty by 2030.
Welcome to USAID’s Regional Development Mission for Asia. As we prepare to mark the International Day for Biological Diversity on May 22, we would like to share some information about what the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is doing to help protect biodiversity by fighting wildlife crime. We also would like to talk about how we are reaching out to others to find innovative ways to deal with this very important issue, including from our own Regional Development Mission here in Bangkok.
I’d like to offer a few closing reflections to what I’m sure was a fascinating day-long conversation. I regret not being able to join you for the entire event. But I am glad that Alexandra, Vanita, Sylvia and others from USAID were here to talk more in depth about our efforts in the region.
In the increasingly integrated regional economy, businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, will need to understand the benefits of the AEC. Along with that understanding, they will also need access to technology, innovation and finance that will help them take advantage of the opportunities the AEC offers. But businesses are made up of more than technology and capital. They are run by people. Businesses will also need a strong and vibrant workforce that will help them innovate and grow. And as you all know, ASEAN’s focus on human resource development is particularly important for the workforce of the newer ASEAN member states – Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam. The good news is that these countries have booming economies and industries in ASEAN targeted sectors, such as tourism, food processing, electronics, and construction.
Last updated: April 30, 2017