Chakwera says MCC’s $350m compact to improve rural road infrastructure

By Cedric Nkungula

President Dr.
Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera says the second compact under the US$350 million Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) will enable Malawi to resolve challenges in linking smallholder farmers to markets by improving the road infrastructure.

President Chakwera made the remarks on Monday, when he presided over the inauguration of the second compact, under the US$350 (about K612 billion) Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) at a ceremony held in Dallas, Texas.

President Chakwera

President Chakwera, who is in the United States of America for the US-Africa Summit, commended the compact’s importance in driving Malawi’s economic prosperity and promoting transparent governance for all citizens.

“This compact exemplifies Malawi’s steadfast commitment to building a more resilient and self-reliant nation,” said President Chakwera.

“With poor rural road infrastructure, we see extremely high prices of farm-to-market transport and in some cases, significant market power of transporters and agro-processors,” he said.

He added; “These prices potentially inhibit the development of Malawi’s rural economy and stymie structural transformation by preventing the rural to urban movement of labor, and diversified production of cash crops.”

The Malawi leader said he was proud that Malawi has fulfilled both legislative and administrative reforms and actions which were conditions set out before the compact could become effective.

Alice Albright, MCC Chief Executive Officer described the multi-million dollar grant for infrastructure and land policy reforms as a significant investment in the people of Malawi.

“We are proud of our strong, enduring partnership with the people of Malawi and believe this compact will play a crucial role in Malawi’s economic development,” said Albright.

MCA, a US Government agency, is investing in Malawi’s transportation and land sectors to enhance rural market access, improve land administration and promote inclusive economic growth.

Malawi’s longstanding partnership with the MCC, dating back to 2005, has seen commendable progress in previous compact programmes and policy areas.

The new compact will prioritise the Accelerated Growth Corridors Project (AGC) to reduce transport costs in rural areas and enhance land productivity, alongside the American Catalyst Facility for Development Project to facilitate private sector engagement.

As part of the official launch, MCA Malawi II will host a symbolic celebration on May 30, 2024, in Lilongwe, to be graced by President Chakwera and MCC boss Albright.