Good morning, and thank you for inviting me to day to speak to you about renewable energy and the partnerships between the U.S. Embassy, ACS, and Lebanon. I am happy to be here today on behalf of Ambassador Richard on this special occasion to celebrate your success in implementing solar technology.
I want to say that this is my first visit here, but my children spent many years in American schools overseas and I just love the welcoming environment, which I certainly feel here today. Thank you for having me.
As I said, this is my first visit to ACS and it’s great to see another example of the long and deep historical relationship between the U.S. and Lebanon. The project we are celebrating today was assisted by funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (ASHA) office. This is just one of the many examples of the U.S. commitment to renewable energy in Lebanon. In fact, the U.S. Embassy has invested over $2.4 million in renewable energy projects throughout Lebanon – 18 Lebanese villages now have solar lighting for busy roads and for their business districts, solar-powered water pumps for irrigation canals, and solar water heaters for homes through USAID programs.
One goal of U.S. foreign assistance is to improve public services, and that includes access to clean water, education services, and renewable energy, and to promote inclusive economic development. U.S. programs prioritize good governance and long-term economic growth prospects. Since 2015 USAID has provided more than $345 million in development assistance to Lebanon, strengthening education, improving access to education for vulnerable groups, enhancing business growth and financing opportunities for Lebanese entrepreneurs, protecting and extending Lebanon’s cedar resources, bolstering municipal government’s abilities to provide services, and bringing cleaner, more regular water to communities across the country. This project at ACS fits very well into our overall approach to Lebanon.
Again, thank you again for welcoming me so warmly here this morning. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to join you in celebrating this success.