- The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) has signed a five-year poverty reduction compact granting $540 million to the Republic of Senegal for road rehabilitation and food security initiatives in some of the poorest regions of Senegal.
The grant was signed by the Acting Chief Executive Officer Darius Mans and Senegalese Minister of Finance and Economy Abdoulaye Diop, with the US Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton and President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal presiding at the signing held at the US State Department in Washington, D.C.
“It is a pleasure to join Secretary Clinton, the chair of our MCC Board, to sign a ground-breaking poverty reduction compact with Senegal,” said Mr Mans, adding, “Senegal’s compact was developed by the Senegalese and will be implemented by the Senegalese. It is a bold example of a country taking control of its future.”
“MCC compacts come with great responsibility - and today offers us an opportunity to re-affirm that we will work together, as governments, civil society groups, and development professionals to closely monitor the compact process and to ensure transparency, accountability, integrity, and results that will benefit the people of Senegal,” Mr Mans also said.
MCC’s compact with Senegal will focus on road rehabilitation in the northern and southern regions of the country. Improving these roads is vital to supporting the country’s agricultural sector by creating reliable, cost-effective, and time-saving transport for locally-produced agricultural products to domestic and international markets year-round. In addition to getting producers and consumers access to markets, these roads will also provide access to essential community services such as schools and hospitals.
The Senegal compact also will invest in a strategic irrigation and water resources management project to improve crop yields. The project will rehabilitate drainage canals, increase the security of land tenure, and develop up to 10,500 hectares of additional irrigated land in the Senegal River Valley. The irrigation project will move Senegal, a country that currently imports 70 percent of its rice, an important step closer to greater food security.
In her remarks at the signing ceremony, Mrs Clinton emphasised that that the relationship between the two countries was based on a shared commitment to economic freedom and access to opportunities, adding that Senegal\'s progress in promoting these principles has given rise to the compact being signed.
\"This is the first MCC compact signed under President Obama and myself, and it reflects what the President and I conveyed during our separate trips to Africa over the summer: We want to be a partner, not a patron; we are not looking for quick fixes, but for lasting solutions that offer long-term progress,\" she said.
She reminded the Senegalese authorities that the results of the compact will only be weighed on what is delivered, saying that after five years both parties should be able to sit together again to look back into the results of the investments efforts of the United States people.
\"A few years ago, President Wade started a national conversation to reduce poverty, ensure food security, and promote commerce. With input from government representatives, NGO leaders, farmers, community activists, members of the business community, the Senegalese people devised a strategy to rebuild their country\'s transportation and irrigation infrastructure. And it is this Senegalese plan that the United States is working to strengthen by signing this $540 million Compact today,\" she said, further committing the US partnership to Senegal.
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