Australia Doubles Aid to Burma
Tuesday, 12th June 2012 at 9:52 am
Foreign Minister Bob Carr. Photo: theconversation.edu.au
Australian aid to Burma will more than double to $100 million a year by 2015, Foreign Minister Bob Carr has announced.
The announcement followed Carr’s meetings with Burma’s President Thein Sein and National League for Democracy Leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Australia's aid program will grow from $48.8 million this year to $63.8 million next year, an increase of more than 30 per cent, according to Carr – who held several meetings and traveled throughout Burma recently.
"Over the next year our aid program will help around one million children to gain better access to education by providing essential school supplies, teacher training and food aid to schools in remote areas,” Carr said.
"We will improve health by providing life-saving vaccines and treatment to one million men, women and children, and help increase incomes and reduce hunger for up to two million people.”
He added that Burma’s recent “democratic transition” offered new opportunities to reduce poverty in that country, particularly with regard to expanding access to education.
The Foreign Minister cited the following statistics as further factors that led to the aid increase:
- Only half of all children in Myanmar will complete primary school
- 70,000 children under five years old die each year, from largely preventable causes
- Around 10 per cent of children under five are severely malnourished
Taking into account the new aid package, Carr said Australia is now the largest donor of educational assistance to Burma.
"As democratic reforms continue, we hope to establish a formal relationship on development cooperation, just as we have with other countries in South-East Asia," Carr said.