20th September 2023 – (United Nations) In response to the global surge in autocracies, the United States has unveiled a significant investment of $225 million to bolster emerging democracies. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Samantha Power, administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), made the announcement during an event held on Wednesday alongside the UN General Assembly.
A substantial portion of the funding, amounting to $110 million, will be allocated to private-sector projects in Nepal. The political landscape in Nepal has been gradually stabilising since the signing of a peace agreement in 2006, which ended a devastating civil war that claimed over 17,000 lives. The support for Nepal, facilitated by the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, which spearheads development initiatives through private investors, will focus on assisting small businesses and promoting sustainable transportation in the Himalayan nation.
Additionally, $145 million in U.S. government funding will be dedicated to various aspects crucial to democracy, including job creation and fostering accountable public finances. The package also encompasses grants from organisations such as the Ford Foundation and Rockefeller Foundation, which will provide aid to civil society groups, rural electrification projects, and climate initiatives in countries like Moldova, Tanzania, and Zambia.
“The United States is committed to ensuring that democracy benefits all individuals,” stated USAID in a release. The assistance aims to deliver essential services and tangible progress for citizens residing in countries undergoing democratic transitions.
The “Democracy Delivers” project, initiated by Blinken and Power last year, responds to the growing concern that democracies face threats from authoritarian regimes like Russia and China, particularly highlighted by the conflict in Ukraine. Several fledgling democracies have encountered significant setbacks, including the military’s ousting of the elected government in Niger in July and the displacement of civilian leaders by armed forces in Sudan, which subsequently descended into warfare between rival military factions.