USAID Launches Activity to Support Lebanon's Agri-Food Sector and Rural Economies

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has launched its newest assistance activity in Lebanon, the Agriculture and Rural Empowerment (ARE) activity during a virtual event.

The event was held in the presence of U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea and USAID/Lebanon Mission Director Mary Eileen Devitt, and attended by representatives from agricultural and agri-food industries, small- and medium-sized enterprises, governmental organizations, universities, local and international development groups, and other donors.

The $57 million, multi-year activity is designed to develop rural economies in Lebanon through support to the agri-food sector and other industries in order to unlock local and export sales potential, while also creating jobs and increasing farmers' and workers' incomes. ARE will work throughout Lebanon with the following objectives: increase domestic and export sales, increase access to financial resources, and improve productivity of micro, small, and medium enterprises.

In her remarks, Ambassador Shea stated: “This new activity is a stellar example of the U.S. Government's continuous support for Lebanon's highly productive sector -- agri-food -- by tapping into Lebanon's key economic growth driver -- the private sector."

The ARE Chief of Party Brian King noted: "We are excited to launch the Agriculture and Rural Empowerment activity today and begin our support to private-sector led development of Lebanon’s agri-food sector and rural industries, improving firm and sector-level competitiveness at this critical juncture in Lebanon's journey to self-reliance."

The event featured the announcement of the first Annual Program Statement, soliciting concept notes from potential Champion Firms, which will be open for twelve months and will lead to Partnership Framework Agreements between ARE and the Champion Firms to develop the sector.

Source: Naharnet

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