USAID extends new ₱10.5B aid to boost PH economy

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 28) — The United States extended fresh funding aid worth $213 million (₱10.5 billion) to the Philippines, it announced Monday.

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) said the new five-year bilateral deal with the Department of Finance is seen to boost economic development and growth by targeting increased investment and trade towards the country.

In a statement, the additional grant is seen to fund new programs and initiatives for inclusive and market-driven growth, an improved business environment, and expanded economic opportunities with the help of the private sector.

Specifically, the aid agency wants more support to help small businesses survive and innovate, as well as to spur the digital economy by upgrading information and communications technology access for both businesses and consumers.

The funding support comes in the middle of the global COVID-19 crisis, which drove most economies into recession. The Philippine economy shrank by 9 percent in the first semester and led to job losses which peaked at 7.3 million in April.

USAID said it also wanted to strengthen civil society groups and spur "data-driven decision making." These are expected to create more jobs and ensure "broad-based" development.

The bilateral deal is one of four new USAID partnerships this year, worth a total of ₱32.7 billion in the next five years. Total funding support has reached ₱228.8 billion in the past two decades, the USAID said.

Other grants include funding for the Department of Health to improve health services, a partnership with the National Economic Development Authority for sustainability and disaster response efforts, and improved access to schooling with the Department of Education. 

"Additionally, USAID will continue to support Philippine government objectives by improving public sector transparency and accountability, advancing the rule of law and the justice system, and boosting local governments’ responsiveness to Filipinos’ needs," it added.

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