US awards $4.3m for energy diversification in the Caribbean

The United States Department of State has announced US$4.3 million in funding to support energy diversification in the Caribbean.

The State Department said on Thursday that the announcement was made at the United States and Caribbean Prosperity Roundtable the day before in Miami.

“This funding, programmed through the Department of State’s Bureau of Energy Resources, USAID [United States Agency for International Development], and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), will advance the Caribbean Energy Security Initiative and the Caribbean 2020 Strategy by providing energy-related technical assistance, grant funding for project preparation, and new opportunities for globally competitive US energy firms and exports,” the State Department said.

The US and Caribbean Prosperity Roundtable brought together Caribbean ministers and US executives from the private sector to spur investment and address obstacles and opportunities for economic collaboration, the State Department said.

It said this year’s Roundtable was led by the Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs Kenneth Merten.

The State Department said the Roundtable “affirmed the US government’s commitment to increase the security, the prosperity, and the well-being of the people of the United States and the Caribbean.”

The US-Caribbean 2020 Multi-Year Strategy identifies the Department of State and USAID’s priorities for United States engagement with the Caribbean region in the areas of security, diplomacy, prosperity, energy, education and health.

The strategy says that the Caribbean region is the United States’ “third border,” characterized by common interests and societal ties “that yield daily, tangible benefits for US citizens.

“The United States is the primary trading partner for the Caribbean, representing a vibrant economic partnership that, in 2016, saw a US$4.6 billion trade surplus for the United States, 14 million US tourist visits, and 11,042 Caribbean students studying in the United States,” the strategy says.

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