Administrator Samantha Power at the Future Technologies Activity Launch

Speeches Shim

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Starnet Digital Park
Chisinau, Moldova

ADMINISTRATOR POWER: Good evening, everyone, and thank you, Scott for that introduction, and for being such a wonderful representative of America’s commitment to Moldova. I’ve had a whirlwind day here in Chisinau, meeting with investigative journalists, spending time with Prime Minister Gavrilita and President Sandu, and now visiting Starnet—truly a sight to see. I also want to thank Ambassador Fried for her leadership, and for Sweden’s long standing partnership and investment in Moldova’s future.

Today is about ushering in the next chapter in that bright future, but I want to start with a brief look at the past. In the early years of the 18th century, one of the most gifted thinkers in Europe during the Enlightenment, the Moldovan scholar Dimitrie Cantemir, proposed a theory that would forever change the way we looked at history. Cantemir argued that empires and nations moved through history much the same way that people do—they matured and declined. They thrived and faltered. They weren’t destined to succeed or doomed to fail; they made decisions that influenced their fates.

His seminal work, the History of the Growth and Decay of the Ottoman Empire, argued that that empire, which then controlled Moldova, was fading. At the time, the Ottoman economy was largely agrarian and occurred at a time when maritime trade was growing, and new industrial technologies were being invented abroad. It was ensnared in conflicts with its neighbors, notably Russia, and subject to outside influence. And it underinvested in education—it had yet to establish institutions of technical education and higher learning.

Eventually, the Ottoman’s grasp did weaken, and Moldova’s fate passed between other hands—some who called themselves empires, some who only wished to be. But today, Moldova’s fate is within the hands of the Moldovan people.

After President Sandu’s historic victory, followed by the Party of Action and Solidarity’s landslide showing in July’s parliamentary elections, the Moldovan people have loudly voiced their support for a democratic future, free from corruption. In this, Moldova’s 30th year of independence, Moldovans have rallied behind leaders like President Sandu and Prime Minister Gavrilita who have promised to tackle graft, root out crooked officials, and build a thriving economy.

Whenever people choose freedom, choose democracy, choose integration, choose peace, choose to reject corruption and choose to reach for progress, wherever they are, the United States wants to be by their side.

And that’s why we’re so pleased to be here today to launch the Future Technologies Activity and invest over $30 million in Moldova’s economic competitiveness. What the President and Prime Minister both recognize is that it’s not enough to fight corruption and strengthen the rule of law—for Moldovans to prosper, the government also has to fight poverty and strengthen the economy as well.

The truth is, Moldova’s young people are talented, creative, and energized. But if the industries of the future develop outside of Moldova’s borders, then those young people will be tempted to take their talents abroad rather than develop their careers here at home.

The Future Technologies Activities will help create pathways for Moldova’s youth, helping link local employers to regional and international businesses associations and investors. It will allow Moldovan companies—who have the ingenuity and ability to compete with anyone—access European and global markets. It will equip young Moldovans with the skills and knowledge they need to take advantage of a growing digital economy. And it will help make the words “Made in Moldova,” a point of pride here at home and a mark of quality around the world.

And I can tell you having sampled Moldovan wine that “Made in Moldova” means something different to me now than it did before I got here. You make some fine wine. We’ve already witnessed a similar transformation in Moldova’s textiles industry. Together, we’ve worked with the government to transform Moldova’s textile sector from a small-scale apparel sourcing destination to its leading export industry, bringing in $400 million in sales, employing over 26,000 people, and setting regional standards for ethical fashion. It’s also been an engine for economic empowerment amongst Moldova’s women—more than half of Moldova’s apparel factories are led by women.

Through the Future Technologies Activities, we now want to replicate this success, and build on 15 years of USAID investment in Moldova’s economic competitiveness, in Moldova’s tech sector, among its engineering and fabrication labs, in its creative industries from architecture to gaming, and in its budding digital media sector.

And this effort won’t just help employers—it will also bring industry leaders and new technologies into Moldova’s classrooms, through partnerships with universities and schools that can teach students the skills they need to thrive in a digital economy.

Together, these efforts can help Moldovans redefine their economy from one in which corruption claims an estimated $1 billion each year to one that is open, thriving, and accessible to young Moldovan’s without the need to pay a bribe or break the law.

The steps to fuel a nation’s rise are not new; they’ve been with us since Cantemir’s time: investing in innovation and trade, supporting education, turning away from conflict and malign influence. But though the steps may be clear, they are not destined. They require focus, commitment, ambition, imagination—and partnership.

Today, I am so pleased to offer the partnership of the United States in helping Moldova write this inspiring chapter of growth, freedom, and prosperity for its people. Thank you, mulţumesc.

Last updated: November 19, 2021

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