Australia to double aid to Myanmar by 2015

    Aid workers with the Australian Agency for International Development visit a village in Myanmar. Australia will give $98.4 million in aid to the country. Photo by: Marianne Jago / AusAID / CC BY

    Australia is the latest donor to take steps toward deeper engagement — in terms of aid, diplomacy and beyond — with Myanmar.

    The country will double its annual aid to Myanmar to 100 million Australian dollars ($98.4 million) by 2015, according to Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr. The increased aid will support basic education, health and livelihood programs in Myanmar, Carr explained.

    Australia spent AU$48.8 million in aid to Myanmar for 2011-12 and has allocated AU$63.8 million for 2012-13. The 2012-13 budget will be used to support Myanmar’s education and health sectors through teacher training schemes, food aid programs for remote schools and vaccination campaigns.

    Carr, who is on a three-day visit to Myanmar until June 8, also announced a AU$3 million aid package for human rights initiatives in the Asian country. The money will be coursed through UNICEF.

    During his visit, Carr also said that Australia has lifted all remaining financial and travel sanctions it has imposed on the Asian country. Australia did retain the option to re-impose the sanctions if required. Its arms embargo on Myanmar also remains in place.

    Meanwhile, on the diplomacy front, Carr said he has invited Myanmar President Thein Sein and National League for Democracy chair Aung San Suu Kyi to visit Australia.

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      Ivy Mungcal

      As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.