The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), a US development organization, has identified agriculture and rural transportation as important sectors for its next round of aid to Mozambique, which will begin in 2023.
Kenneth Miller, the MCC’s country director for Mozambique, delivered this information in Maputo during an audience with Mozambican Foreign Minister Veronica Macamo.
At the conclusion of the meeting, Miller told reporters that the MCC is committed to collaborating with the Mozambican government to ensure that its investment has a meaningful impact on poverty reduction and economic growth.
“So we are already working with several ministries for investments in the areas of agriculture and rural transport as a way of creating jobs that can reduce the level of poverty in Mozambique”, Miller stressed.
Among the MCC’s priorities, Miller added was the empowerment of women and young people. “We shall ensure that our joint investments strike at the roots of poverty”, he said. “We do not yet have a specific plan for these areas, because it’s a process that takes time, but the idea is that we shall also invest in these areas”.
The MCC’s aid packages are known as “compacts”, and the US ambassador to Mozambique, Dennis Hearne, said, “This next MCC compact is an opportunity to make lasting investments in rural transport and the agricultural area”.
The National Coordinator of the Mozambican government’s Office for the Development of Compact II, Higino de Marrule, reiterated that the results of a joint assessment showed that agriculture and rural transport are priority areas.
He confirmed that the Compact is scheduled to begin in 2023, but the Mozambican team hopes to start work earlier. “Well before 2023, we want to deliver a package of projects constituting Compact II that will be signed by the Mozambican government and the MCC”, said Marrule.
Marrule added that the cost of the Compact has not yet been defined “but we hope it will reach close to 500 million US dollars”.
Mozambique’s first MCC compact was signed in 2007 and ran for five years. It was a grant of 506.9 million dollars, of which only 447.9 million (88 per cent) was spent. The largest component was a water and sanitation project budgeted at 203.6 million dollars intended to improve access to safe, reliable water supplies and sanitation services.
The MCC Board of Directors announced in December 2019 that it had selected Mozambique for a second compact.