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  Donna Thiessen 

                                                                                                                                                                        (703) 875-4357

USTDA SIGNS MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING

TO IMPROVE TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE IN SRI LANKA

 

USTDA Deputy Director Leocadia I. Zak (right) and MOH Senior Assistant Secretary Neel Bandara Hapuhinne (left) signed an MOU in a ceremony held at the USTDA-sponsored Transportation Solutions for South Asia Trade conference in Mumbai.

MUMBAI – (March 8, 2006) Continued collaboration on activities to improve transportation infrastructure in Sri Lanka to further the nation’s economic development, particularly in tsunami-affected areas, is the subject of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed today between the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) and the Sri Lanka Ministry of Highways (MOH).  Under the MOU, USTDA stated its intention to provide a $367,000 grant to assess Sri Lanka’s road construction and maintenance equipment needs, and make recommendations on how to best meet those needs.  The grant is expected to be awarded in a signing ceremony in Colombo, Sri Lanka later this month.

 

USTDA Deputy Director Leocadia I. Zak and MOH Senior Assistant Secretary Neel Bandara Hapuhinne signed the MOU in a ceremony held at the USTDA-sponsored Transportation Solutions for South Asia Trade conference in Mumbai.  The event is a project forum and business dialogue designed to promote trade and economic integration among South Asian nations. 

 

Today’s MOU responds to the MOH’s request for assistance in evaluating various mechanisms for the procurement and distribution of equipment to improve the road infrastructure of the tsunami-damaged areas in the eastern and southern areas of Sri Lanka.  The assistance will enable Sri Lanka to leverage other forms of assistance being provided by international donors in its transportation sector.  In particular, the USTDA grant will fund U.S. expertise to assist the Road Development Authority, a statutory institution under the MOH, in identifying road equipment needs, effective mechanisms for procurement, and the conditions necessary to establish public-private partnerships to lease equipment to the local road construction industry in Sri Lanka. 

 

The signing of today’s MOU follows the award of a $475,000 USTDA grant last year to Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Transport to recommend improvements to the transportation linkages between Colombo and the southern and eastern areas of Sri Lanka.  The Ministry of Transport is currently in the process of selecting a qualified U.S. firm to conduct the study following a competition held last year.

 

The U.S. Trade and Development Agency advances economic development and U.S. commercial interests in developing and middle-income countries.  The agency funds various forms of technical assistance, feasibility studies, training, orientation visits and business workshops that support the development of a modern infrastructure and a fair and open trading environment.  USTDA’s strategic use of foreign assistance funds to support sound investment policy and decision-making in host countries creates an enabling environment for trade, investment and sustainable economic development.  In carrying out its mission, USTDA gives emphasis to economic sectors that may benefit from U.S. exports of goods and services.

 

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