KATHMANDU: The Unites States has said it will invest at least $77.47 million (approximately Rs 8 billion) as development grant in Nepal for the year 2015.
According to the latest data shared by the US Embassy in Kathmandu, at least $15.45 million has already been extended while remaining $59.77 million will be provided within the next six months.
The fund is to be invested in six clusters namely peace and security; democracy, human rights and governance; health; education and social services; economic development; and environment, according to the embassy and it will be channelised through USAID, Peace Corps and Millennium Challenge Corporation.
The US government’s humanitarian assistance provided after the April 25 earthquake is not included in it.
According to USAID Nepal, a total of $47 million, including $14.3 from the US Department of Defence, was extended as emergency response for Nepal after the quake.
A much as $40.20 million, the majority of the support, was given to the health cluster which accounts for 52 per cent of the total annual grant.
The fund was also provided for democracy, human rights and governance ($13.94 million), economic development ($10.16 million), peace and security ($7.68 million), environment ($4.50 million) and education and social services ($1 million), as per the data at an official US foreign assistance portal.
Nevertheless, the support for 2015 will be less than the US government’s annual grant extended to Nepal during the past four years. The US had provided $81.18 million in 2014, $90.05 million in 2013, $95.40 million in 2012, and $88.96 million in 2011, according to the data of the US Embassy in Kathmandu.
US annual grants in these four years were bigger because a large chunk of support was allotted for accomplishing the tasks of the peace process in Nepal, officials said.
“The primary goal of US assistance in Nepal is to support a successful transition to a more democratic, prosperous, and resilient country,” a US Congressional Budget Justification for FY 2015 report stated.
“The new Constituent Assembly must now prove that it can accomplish what the previous Constituent Assembly could not. It should be able to draft a new federal constitution, hold local elections and put Nepal on the path towards greater economic prosperity,” the report added.
Besides, the US assistance has been focused on expanding the public health system, improving nutrition and raising the incomes of the rural poor, building resilience to changing environmental conditions while safeguarding the country’s rich biodiversity.
United States has pledged $35.4 billion assistance for over 100 countries for the year 2015. The top five recipient countries include Israel ($3.1 billion), Afghanistan ($1.59 billion), Egypt ($1.5 billion), Pakistan ($882 million) and Nigeria ($720 million).