As bilateral development partners, Fiji and the United States of America have reaffirmed commitment in the coordination of USAID programs in Fiji and the Pacific region.
This was conveyed at an introductory meeting held today between the Prime Minister, Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama and the United States Ambassador to Fiji, His Excellency Joseph James Cella. Ambassador Cella introduced USAID Pacific’s Senior Development Advisor Dr. Alexandria Huerta, who recently assumed her new role.
PM Bainimarama commended USAID for its work in Fiji and the region towards advancing the shared aspirations and commitment to sustainable development, building resilience, peace and prosperity.
The Head of the Fijian Government said that support through USAID is a demonstration of the United States commitment to its bilateral relations and cooperation with Fiji and the region.
PM Bainimarama congratulated Dr. Huerta and conveyed the Fijian Government’s best wishes and support to Dr. Huerta on her new leadership role at USAID Pacific.
Reflecting on the positive outcomes of the meeting, Ambassador Cella said it provided an opportunity to look at the key areas of engagements that USAID will aspire to support within the Fijian government’s national priorities.
“USAID represents the United States, who we are and what we do and certainly manifest in who we have been with Fiji and where we are at now but more importantly where we are going. “Our presence here dates back to 1844. USAID is at the forefront, to assist our friends, allies and partners in good times and bad.
“There are many opportunities for agricultural scaling up and exports. Dr. Huerta has 20 years of development experience; she was a Peace Corp volunteer and spent 10 years with the World Vision. She arrived in Fiji from Laos where she spent 4 years – she was a pioneer setting up our presence.
“With the background and experience that Dr. Huerta brings to Fiji as a Senior Development Advisor USAID/Pacific Islands and her presence here with more colleagues to follow – more funding will follow to Fiji and other four island nations I am accredited. S
he has already identified some of the opportunities for Fiji and we will be able to talk about some of them soon.
We will be announcing things soon for the benefit of Fiji and the region,” Ambassador Cella said.
Dr.Huerta in her role will oversee the donor engagement, coordination, strategic development and monitoring and evaluation of USAID programs in the Pacific Islands. Prior to being posted in Suva, Dr. Huerta served as USAID’s principal officer in Lao People’s Democratic Republic.
As the first USAID Foreign Service Officer in Laos since 1975, she was responsible for managing a bilateral program that more than quadrupled in value since her arrival. Earlier in her career she was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mali; Dr.Huerta received a Ph.D. in Agricultural Development and she also has Master’s Degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Tennessee.