To enhance the United States’ partnership with the Pacific Islands, and to achieve our shared vision for a resilient Pacific region of peace, harmony, security, social inclusion, and prosperity, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken presided over a signing ceremony between the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), an independent U.S. development agency, and the Republic of Kiribati.

The ceremony took place during the U.S.-Pacific Islands Forum Summit, convened by the White House on September 25. MCC CEO Alice Albright and President of the Republic of Kiribati Taneti Maamau signed an agreement to fund a $29.1 million Threshold Program, the United States’s largest direct grant investment in Kiribati to date.

The program aims to boost the I-Kiribati people’s participation in employment opportunities by:

  1. Building the capabilities of the Kiribati Ministry of Employment and Human Resource to share job opportunities and help under-represented groups — including women and members of ethnic minority groups — find jobs.
  2. Creating a resource center for overseas I-Kiribati workers to understand their rights in the countries where they are employed.
  3. Establishing English-language camps for I-Kiribati youth in Fiji and the United States and providing students with year-long scholarships to study in American high schools.

MCC and the Republic of Kiribati will partner with the International Labour Organization and American Councils for International Education to deliver on the Threshold Program.

CEO Albright and President Maamau signed the agreement following remarks from CEO Albright, Secretary Blinken, and Kiribati’s Minister for Employment and Human Resource Taabeta Teakai.

The partnership is a crucial part of the U.S. government’s continued commitment to the Pacific region, which President Joseph Biden has made clear is a top priority.