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The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has shifted its assistance to top gear infusing US$ 7 mn to be disbursed over a two-year period. The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has shifted its assistance to top gear infusing US$ 7 mn to be disbursed over a two-year period. Projects ranging from human development, IT training to competitiveness, will largely benefit under a new initiative started last month.

Driven by Nathan & J E Austin Associates, the new ‘Competition Programme’ is a successor to the earlier ‘The Competitiveness Initiative’ (TCI) project.

“Aside from expanding a bit on the existing eight clusters, we are also looking at developing human resource skills, workforce development and perhaps areas like helping to improve nursing care,” John W Varley, Chief of Party/Project Director TCI said.

Under the earlier programme, the USAID-TCI initiative did a lot of groundwork to streamline and improve competitiveness in eight cluster sectors – Tourism, Tea, Ceramics, ICT, Gem & Jewellery, Coir, Spices and Rubber.

Varley says the new programme will also look for commercial and policy obstacles common to