USAID signs a $1.5 million partnership to improve economic opportunities in Angola

WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) today signed a joint partnership with Lazare Kaplan International Inc. (LKI) to collaborate on development projects in Lunda Norte, Angola. With the cooperation of the government of Angola, this partnership will provide assistance to improve social service delivery and increase economic opportunity.

The $1.5 million partnership will provide development projects to the province of Lunda Norte over the next three years. The signing ceremony took place in Luanda, Angola with the Chairman of LKI Maurice Tempelsman, the U.S. Ambassador to Angola Cynthia Efird, the Governor of Lunda Norte and the USAID Mission Director Diana Swain, all on hand to witness the ceremony.

Program implementation will be the responsibility of a competitively selected non-governmental organization (NGO) or consortium of NGOs. Local government authorities will assist selected communities in Lunda Norte in developing and implementing community plans. USAID will coordinate with the local government officials to effectively provide program design, management and oversight assistance.

Angola is the fourth largest producer of rough diamonds in the world. In 2003, production was estimated to have reached 6 million carats, valued at $788 million. LKI, a U.S.-based public corporation, specializes in premium-priced diamonds and diamond jewelry with revenues in 2004 topping $238.8 million. LKI is engaged in a number of activities that will provide new sources of funding to promote diamond production in three other diamond producing countries in Southern Africa: Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. LKI is a founding member of the US-Angola Chamber of Commerce and Corporate Council on Africa. LKI has operated in Africa for many years and in Angola since 1984.

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