June 21, 2012 ·10 Comments
DJIBOUTI — The Republic of Djibouti and the U.S. have signed an agreement to strengthen cooperation in the healthcare sector on Tuesday during a meeting in the Djibouti capital.
Djiboutian Minister for International Cooperation Mr. Ahmed Ali Silay signed a bilateral agreement aimed at combating the spread of HIV/AIDS with U.S. Ambassador to Djibouti, Mr. Paul Pometto, and the acting interim USAID in Djibouti, Mr. Mark Mitchell.
Washington will make $1.9 million grant available for the fight against the disease among truck drivers along the Djibouti-Ethiopia corridor. The grant will also contribute to programs for education, prevention, and treatment for communities dotted along the corridor.
According to a government source the fund will support the Ministry of Health to mitigate tuberculosis (TB) and polio in the former French territory.
Djibouti has welcomed the initiative saying the money will contribute significantly in the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS since the Global Fund suspended its grants.
In 2010 Michel Kazatchkine, the Global Fund’s Executive Director, said his organization was placing five African countries including Djibouti on an “Additional Safeguards Policy” list. He cited that due to evidence of embezzlement, future cash grants were to be subjected to closer scrutiny.
The the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) directs an $11 million annual portfolio which supports health, education, democracy and governance and humanitarian assistance in Djibouti. The agency insists the programs further solidify Washington’s commitment to the region and enhance ties.
USAID Somaliland grants
In related news, USAID announced over $1 million in grants to thirteen businesses, nonprofits, and institutions in Djibouti’s southern neighbour, Somaliland, this week.
The grants were provided through the Partnership Fund Grants Program which was implemented by Development Alternatives, Inc. (DAI).
The initiative launched in December 2011, called on potential Somali Entrepreneurs to produce concept papers at core of sustainable business initiatives. The program invited innovative startups and SMEs to pitch their business ideas and dreams by submitting it to the DAI.
The program specifically aimed to emphasize and strengthen partnership with the Somali private sector to create the wealth and jobs that will reduce poverty in Somaliland.
The grants ranging from $20,000 to $100,000 were available in two grants mechanisms for business ideas where commercial viability could be established in a cost sharing agreements. For the Small Grants pool, the cost-sharing arrangement involved grantees covering at least 25 percent of the cost, for example an applicant applying $20,000 needed to contributed at least $5,000 into the pool. Those eligible for the Global Development Alliance (GDA) grants mechanisms were required to join in an equal partnership or one-on-one cost sharing agreements. The minimum contribution on this pool was $50,000.
During a reception held in Mansor Hotel in Hargeisa, the minister of commerce, Abdulrisak Khalif Ahmed said the agency received more than 292 entries. He said after a careful process of assessment and evaluation the USAID and DAI in collaboration with his department selected thirteen grant recipients.
The winners were chosen after meeting six key criteria of: economic growth impact, technical experience and technical feasibility, financial viability and cost effectiveness, supply and demand, business management experience, and cost-share contribution.
Both the USAID and DAI hope the winners of this economic resource enhancement program will help harness the skills and expertise of the private sector in Somaliland.
The recipients of these generous grants hail from diverse sectors of society including nongovernmental, faith-based organizations, institutions, private and other community based entities. USAID hopes to expand in the future so pressing regional issues could be tackled together in a true partnership with the communities.
The United States funds a number of projects in Somaliland under its dual approach policy for Somalia and Somaliland.
June 21, 2012Follow @somalilandpress