October 26, 2006
MCC Board Approves $461 Million Development Agreement with Mali; Irrigation, Industrial Park, Airporirport Improvements Key to Jobs, Poverty Reduction
Washington, DC The Board of Directors of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) today approved a five-year, $460.8 million Compact to fund poverty reduction projects in the Republic of Mali.
One of the poorest countries in the world with a $380 per capita income, Mali has made significant political, social and economic progress in the past decade. Dependent on low value agriculture products including cereal crops, livestock and fishing, which are vulnerable to erratic weather patterns, this West African country has a small and constrained industrial base and is land-locked and isolated from international markets and trade.
The Compact aims to reduce poverty through economic growth by increasing production and productivity of agriculture and small- and medium-sized enterprises as well as expanding Malis access to markets and trade. The investment will support the development of key infrastructure and policy reforms by addressing the countrys constraints to growth by capitalizing on two of Malis major assets, the Niger River for irrigated agriculture and the Bamako-Snou International Airport, gateway for regional and international trade.
Infrastructure deficiencies are often among the major barriers to poverty reduction and economic growth in Africa. The Mali-MCC Compact outlines a comprehensive plan of action that addresses specific infrastructure constraints to growth that will have very promising ramifications for the business and agriculture sectors. We congratulate the Malians on their tremendous efforts to create this Compact and welcome working with them toward achieving its significant goals, said Ambassador John J. Danilovich, MCCs CEO.
The largest of the components is the $234.6 million Alatona irrigation project, which is expected to increase food production and productivity, improve land tenure security, modernize irrigated production systems, and mitigate the uncertainty from subsistence rain-fed agriculture.
The $89.6 million airport improvement project will remove constraints to air traffic growth and increase the airports efficiency in both passenger and freight handling through infrastructure improvements and effective management. Co-located with the airport is a $94.3 million industrial park project that will establish an anchor for a growing industrial sector, particularly in agro-processing.
Hundreds of thousands of Malians will see improvements in their standard of living, including 40,000 farmers, family members and laborers as well as 100,000 school-aged children and family members who will have greater access to education, health services, markets, and potable water provided in the irrigation zone. Some 85,000 new jobs will result because of increased manufacturing and trade.
Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), a United States government corporation designed to work with some of the poorest countries in the world, is based on the principle that aid is most effective when it reinforces good governance, economic freedom, and investments in people that promote economic growth and elimination of extreme poverty.