The Ministry of Finance (MoF), and the United States, through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), have signed a new development objective agreement of Rs 79.71 billion today.

The grant of $659 million over the five-year period is believed to support Nepal's goal of graduating to a middle-income country. The agreement was signed by Ishwori Prasad Aryal, joint secretary and head of International Economic Cooperation Coordination Division (IECCD) at MoF, and Sepideh Keyvanshad, USAID/ Nepal mission director.

The grant assistance is said to advance Nepal's sustainable development through strengthened democratic governance, enterprise driven economic growth and increased resilience for communities at risk to natural disasters and climate change.

USAID will develop projects under this assistance agreement in collaboration with line ministries and implement them in accordance with Nepal government's rules and regulations.

On the occasion, Aryal said, "In 1951, after signing the Point Four programme, the United States became the first bilateral donor to Nepal. This began a 70-plus year relationship of trust, mutual respect, and commitment to the people of Nepal." He further added that Nepal has greatly benefited from the financial and technical assistance extended by the United States to help drive Nepal's socioeconomic development.

Similarly, Keyvanshad noted, "Today we add a new chapter to our long-standing partnership with the government of Nepal and the Nepali people. We look forward to continuing the US government's long-term commitment to support activities that strengthen Nepal's democracy, governance, and economic growth across the country."

The United States and Nepal are celebrating 75 years of bilateral relationship this year.

Furthermore, the Nepal government has expressed its sincere appreciation to the US for its invariable support in socioeconomic development and advancement of human resources of Nepal.

A version of this article appears in the print on May 06, 2022 of The Himalayan Times.