The Asia and Middle East Economic Growth Best Practices project (AMEG) supports USAID bureaus and missions in Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa with activities such as assessments, strategic planning, diagnostics, and innovative pilot programs. The project focuses on a variety of key issues around economic growth and job creation: public financial management, trade and customs, access to finance, small and medium enterprise development, workforce development, and sustainable livelihoods, with the particular the inclusion of youth and female workforce to more fully participate and benefit in economic development.
The following activities represent the breadth of AMEG’s scope across its target regions:
Integrating Gender into Trade Capacity-Building Programs in the Middle East and Asia: Guidance for Program Design and Implementation. This document is USAID’s first-ever guidance on gender and trade in Asia and the Middle East. The document provides guidance on designing trade capacity building programs that aim to equalize economic conditions for men and women. It also analyzes the relationship between issues of gender equality and women’s economic empowerment as well as the vast expansion of international trade over the past half-century. The document breaks down the complex issues of gender and trade into five parts, including how to test assumptions and integrate gender equality in various contexts.
U.S. Indian Diaspora Investment Initiative: Investment Preferences and Demand for a Fixed-Income Social Impact Investment. Under this initiative, AMEG staff conducted market research and analysis to inform USAID’s and President Obama’s new Indian Diaspora Investment Initiative. The research highlighted investment preferences of the Indian diaspora in the United States and highlighted conditions under which its members are more likely to invest in social impact investment funds focused on India. AMEG’s research promotes a greater understanding of how private savings in diaspora communities can be leveraged for real impact as a part of USAID development goals.
Yemen Mobile Money Technical Assistance Activity. In coordination with the Social Fund for Development, Consultative Group to Assist the Poorest, and USAID/Yemen, AMEG staff increased the capacity of the Central Bank of Yemen and improved its electronic systems. As a result, Yemen used a framework recommended by the project to pass legislation to expand and enable mobile money services and products.
Lower Mekong Initiative Renewable and Clean Energy Business Dialogue. The Renewable and Clean Energy Business Dialogue brought high-level renewable energy stakeholders and business leaders together. Participants identified challenges and opportunities to expand the use of renewable and clean energy — including solar, wind, and biomass power — in the Lower Mekong region. The dialogue set the stage to enhance trans-boundary cooperation in the region, as well as to promote public-private partnerships and international business-to-business opportunities around clean energy.
Gender Lens Investing in Asia Activity. AMEG staff partnered with the Criterion Institute to evaluate gender lens investing in Asia, identifying different investment opportunities and bringing leaders together to share knowledge. The project is collecting more data to demonstrate the effectiveness of incorporating a gender analysis into financial decision-making. Findings from this quantitative and qualitative analysis will help make the business case for incorporating gender analysis into financial analysis.
Best Practices in Improved Employment Outcomes Activity. To address the jobs crisis in the Middle East and North Africa, AMEG staff are documenting best practices in enterprise assistance and job creation programming. The research and related case studies will culminate in a technical guide for USAID Economic Growth officers that will synthesize key features of the most cost-effective and effective programs for generating jobs and promoting economic growth.