By Sitilitha Mpembenji
Wednesday saw the signing of a $350 million second Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) agreement between US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and President Lazarus Chakwera.
Blinken says that the agreement starts a new chapter in US-Malawi relations.
The compact, which consists of three major projects, aims to assist the Government of Malawi in addressing the root causes of constraints to economic growth, including the high price of road freight transport service, management of the estate sector and ambiguity on property and land rights.
“Today in Washington DC, I joined US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken and Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) chief executive officer, Alice Albright, at the MOU signing of the 2nd MCC compact for Malawi worth US$350 million.
“The Malawi Transport and Land Compact will be implemented to reduce transport costs and strengthen land administration in the country. Among the expected outcomes is construction of the 300-kilometre network of four corridor roads across the country to facilitate greater flow of agricultural products from farms to urban markets,” said Chakwera a facebook post.
He added: “Furthermore, state agencies with the mandate to supervise road infrastructure will also receive technical assistance to improve usability of the infrastructure through timely maintenance. Secondly, the compact will build Malawi’s capacity in land management reforms to maximise land revenue both for rural farmers and the country. I am delighted that the compact will create a range of economic opportunities for our people. This is a win for all Malawians!”
Following the historic MOU signing of the MCC agreement, he went to the IMF’s offices to meet with its managing director, Ms. Kristalina Georgieva.
The discussion, according to Chakwera, was focused on Malawi’s obligations and the IMF’s commitments to the pursuit of an Extended Credit Facility for the country.
He also spoke with Mr. Axel van Trotsenburg, Managing Director of the World Bank Group, on the goals Malawi is attempting to meet in order to expedite the release of US$1.5 billion that the Bank has authorized for different projects.