American Chamber of Commerce in BiH with the support of the U.S. Embassy in BiH held a meeting on the topic „USAID BiH overview“, with the newly appointed Mission Director of USAID to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mr. Peter Duffy.
The reason for organizing this meeting, was to create the first steps of the collaboration between the private and NGO sector, brought together, can efficiently secure better economic opportunities, strengthen rule of law, and promote democratic principles and therefore improve the lives of BiH citizens.
The Mission Director of USAID to BiH, Mr. Peter Duffy on this meeting presented and shared with the members of AmCham BiH the USAID overview of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The first and foremost aim of USAID is to help create a more stable BiH, thus closer to Euro-Atlantic integration. USAID will do this by implementing the U.S. foreign assistance program, through two mutually reinforcing development objectives – democracy and governance, and economic growth.
When it comes to the democracy development objective the USAID strengthens BiH’s democratic institutions by increasing citizen engagement in governance, focusing primarily on the areas of rule of law, good governance, and civil society. USAID also works with local governments to improve customer service, administrative systems, budgeting, and financial management, to reduce opportunities for corruption. USAID’s civil society programs strengthen independent media and empower organizations and citizens to engage in advocacy and civic actions to improve the quality of life of BiH citizens. These programs help NGOs build strategic partnerships with the government and therefore improve the financial viability of the sector. The objective by which the USAID is implementing its democracy and governance objective in BiH is: More functional and accountable institutions and actors that meet citizens’ needs.
A competitive, market-oriented economy providing better economic opportunities for all its citizens is the USAID’s objective for the economic growth of BiH. USAID pushes its effort to improve the economic opportunities in BiH by targeting the sectors with the highest growth potential: agriculture, wood products, tourism, and light manufacturing. Corruption is also a cross-cutting area of focus since it is pervasive in many facets of BiH life – including education, health, judicial systems and the public employment sector – and is a major obstacle to progress in BiH.
To address energy efficiency, the USAID Energy Investment Activity will work with the relevant counterparts in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) toward the development of an EEO scheme tailored for BiH. With a financing model in place the energy efficiency industry could utilize its large potential and create much needed jobs in BiH.
The meeting finished with a lot of positive comments from the members of AmCham BiH that see the potential in the USAID programs, which seek all of the manageable and possible opportunities to promote transparency within all beneficiaries in the public and private sector. Working together the public and private sector can ensure political stability, foster a national identify, and create a single economic space for BiH.