Administrator Samantha Power Remarks With Moldovan Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita

Speeches Shim

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

PRIME MINISTER GAVRILITA: (via translation) Good afternoon to everyone. Distinguished Mrs. Power, I am very happy to say welcome to you in the Republic of Moldova. 

The United States of America proved to always have support and friendship for the Republic of Moldova and your visit in our country, the first visit at the highest level of the leadership of USAID, it’s the proof in this regard. We highly appreciate the financial assistance and support for development that was provided to the Republic of Moldova in the last 29 years through USAID and other U.S. agencies. 

This is estimated to be over one billion dollars in the last 29 years. Anyone who comes to our country will see big infrastructure facilities marked with USAID, from the American people. We see this not just on water provision facilities, on agriculture facilities, or wineries. But these are important changes for our country that cannot be marked by posters. These important reforms made by USAID, such as regulatory reform that simplified the life of business owners, the justice reform, the transparency in the financial system, the development of the educational system, support of independent journalists, and democratic processes. This entire sector, so the economy that’s throughout the years, received support, expertise, and financing for certain activities from USAID. This means agriculture processing, IT, fashion, creative industries, furniture, and banking system, and other industries. 

The fact that these projects will continue and become more of them means that each citizen of Moldova will have better opportunities to learn how to professionally develop and to launch their businesses. During this meeting with Mrs. Power, we discussed fortifying our cooperation. We welcome the launch of the USAID strategy for the development of our country for 2020-2025 that has a vision of a new partnership with the Moldovan government and that aims to achieve two development objectives: strengthening the participatory democracy and the sustainable economic growth. 

We welcome the new 5-year project, Future Technology Activity, that aims to grow connectivity in the IT sector in our country. This activity is significant proof of a receptive approach of the U.S. assistance in Moldova. 

Based on the achievements of these investments of USAID in Moldova, I am sure that this project is an opportunity to build these achievements and to develop new projects in support of the development efforts of Moldova. 

Thank you. 

ADMINISTRATOR POWER: Hello, everybody. Thank you very much, Madam Prime Minister, and good afternoon to all of you. I am so very pleased to be here in Moldova, my first time in your beautiful country.  And I'm really pleased that Moldova could be the country that I could come to on my first trip to Eastern Europe as the Administrator of USAID, America's Development Agency.  I'm really grateful for the warm welcome I have received from Prime Minister Gavrilita, from President Sandu, and from the Moldovans I've had the chance to meet in the last couple of days.  

I hope the Prime Minister will indulge me for a brief moment and step back and just recognize the remarkable example that the people of Moldova have set for the world over the past year. Some of you may have heard or read that democracy is in retreat globally. Indeed, by some measures, freedom has been in decline for 15 years. But it seems as though Moldovans haven't gotten that message, that the idea that somehow democracy and democratic backsliding are -- that democracies are in peril and democratic backsliding is the new normal, that's not been accepted by the population of this country.  

Instead, they came out in force to demand an end to entrenched corruption and oligarchic rule, and to support leaders who have laid out an agenda to pursue ambitious reforms.  President Biden, as some of you know, recognized that in his UN General Assembly speech, again celebrating the efforts of the people here to reclaim their democracy. Revitalizing democracy is essential, in fact, for addressing the major shared challenges facing our world. And again, what is happening here in Moldova is a democratic bright spot.  

In my meetings with both the Prime Minister and earlier today with President Sandu, we had the opportunity to talk about the government's reform agenda, including critical efforts to root out corruption from the public and private sectors and to strengthen the connection between government institutions and the citizens they serve.  

We also had a chance to discuss reform of the justice sector, which is a clear priority for the new government. The path forward is going to be challenging, no question. It always is when one attempts to make far reaching changes. But my message today and in my meetings over the course of the few days I am here with the private sector, civil society leaders, independent media, and government officials, is that the United States will stand with the people of Moldova. We will look to see what forms of support we can offer that match the Moldovan government's list of priorities. As you collectively, all institutions within this nation, deepen and sustain the promising efforts that are now underway.  

This includes the Moldovan government's focus on investing in digitalization, and I'm looking forward to joining the Prime Minister later today to help launch the Future Technologies Activity. The United States shares the Moldovan government's focus on the potential of digital technologies to generate new economic opportunities, especially for young people in this country.  

This also includes our investments to spur economic growth. In recent years, we have helped set up Moldova's first technology park, which is home to thousands of jobs. We have worked closely with local winemakers to connect them to lucrative new markets in over 60 countries. And I have to say, having sampled Moldovan wine last night, this has the potential to be an incredible industry, incredible export that you bring to the entire world.  

These initiatives underscore what a strong partnership we have to build upon. As the Prime Minister indicated, since 1992, the U.S. government has invested actually more than $1.7 billion to support Moldova. We are proud of what has been done so far from helping build more competitive industries to strengthening local governance. But we believe that now we have the chance to go even further.  

Through USAID, the U.S. has also donated more than half a million COVID-19 vaccine doses and provided some $7 million worth of direct pandemic relief to this country, including support to help vaccinate people quickly and safely. And again, I cannot stress the importance for all of us who live on this Earth to take advantage of these vaccines that are now finally available. We were waiting for them for so long, and they are incredibly important not only to the health of our citizens, to all of you, to our citizens, our communities back in the United States, but vaccination is also critical to the economic recovery that we need in the United States, here in Moldova, and globally. We're all connected in this global economy. And the sooner that each country can cross the important threshold of 70 percent of people vaccinated, the better that will be for prosperity and economic opportunity as well, of course, as for public health.  

I look forward to continuing to engage with you, Madam Prime Minister, as well as with President Sandu on a range of reform issues. We are also looking forward to seeing the Moldovan President at the Summit for Democracy, which will be hosted by President Biden. And that will be an opportunity not only to hear about Moldova's progress as it relates to anti-corruption and reforms, and strengthening democracy and institutions, but also to hear more about what the needs are and what the opportunities are for other countries to support the efforts that are underway here. It is an honor to be here, and I thank you for having me. I also again send the greatest of respect to the Moldovan people who have stood up and demanded change, demanded reform, and have reclaimed the democracy that they, of course, deserve. Thank you so much.

Chisinau, Moldova

Last updated: June 24, 2022

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