By JOHN CHOLA
– “As Zambia is poised to receive between US$330 and $500 million MCC grant”. –
Finance and National Planning Minister Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane says the just announced selection of Zambia to the new Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) will help government deliver development to citizens and reduce poverty.
The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), a United States Government Agency, on 15 December, 2021, selected Zambia as being eligible to develop a five (5) year grant program (Compact), with the actual amount to be received yet to be revealed.
However, recent compacts signed between MCC and other eligible countries have ranged from about US$330-$500 million.
Zambia’s first compact was for an amount of approximately US$350 million. The
specific projects that were completed included:
This will be Zambia’s second Compact, following the expiry of the first one in November, 2018.
The first, approximately US$350 million Compact, focused on rehabilitating Lusaka’s core water system, expanding water supply and sewage networks, and improving the City’s drainage backbone.
According to the Minister of Finance, Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane, during the first grant progress was made with 24.8 km length of drainages completed, 330 km length of water distribution network completed, and 92km total length of core water pipes replaced.
“Today, let me take this opportunity to join President Hakainde Hichilema in thanking the Board of MCC for selecting Zambia for the development of a second grant (Compact). The new Compact will definitely supplement the Government’s efforts in delivering development to citizens,” states Minister Stumbeko Musokotwane.
Several weeks ago, Dr Musokotwane added, I accompanied our President to the United States of America for the UN General Assembly (UNGA). On the sidelines of the UNGA, the President led us in talks with the Millennium Challenge Corporation at a meeting held in Washington, DC.
Dr Musokotwane said yesterday’s positive decision by MCC was an affirmation of the productive nature of the Washington engagement.
“We will soon have a new Compact; a clear demonstration of the excellent partnership that exists between the Governments of the Republic of Zambia, and the United States of America. MCC’s decision to select Zambia as being eligible to develop a new Compact, is also a great sign of Zambia’s growing positive reputation on the world stage. We will keep building on these positive sentiments, through partnerships based on trust, cordiality, and mutual interests,” Dr Musokotwane said.
He said the state was aware that the governance standards of MCC were rigorous noting the set yardsticks were also the basis on which MCC’s commitment to deliver sustainable economic growth, and help reduce poverty throughout the entire lifecycle of its investments, is weighted.
“Therefore, it is encouraging that Zambia was selected for the second Compact because the new dawn Government has demonstrated commitment to democratic governance, investing in people, and pursuing economic freedom,” Musokotwane reiterated.
MCC investments are targeted at addressing constraints to economic growth.
Therefore, the Zambian government will be expected to facilitate a constraints analysis process to identify factors hindering growth in the country.
The outcome will form the basis for the selection of projects and activities to be included in the second Compact agreement between the Government of Zambia and MCC.
The Minister stated that government looks forward to working with MCC to develop programs that will achieve common developmental goals.