This weekend, I had the pleasure of joining the Prime Minister of Cape Verde, other government authorities, U.S. Ambassador Marianne Myles, hundreds of citizens, and the leadership of MCA-Cape Verde at the inauguration of the newly rehabilitated road from Orgãos to Pedra Badejo on the island of Santiago, made possible through MCC’s $110 million compact. It is a significant milestone for Cape Verde’s development, and marks MCC’s first completed road project in Africa. This new construction is the first of three roads being rehabilitated on this island. In addition there are four bridges under construction on Santo Antão Island. These works decrease transportation costs for people and goods, improving access to markets and services. This will help move Cape Verde closer to realizing its goal of poverty reduction and economic growth for the benefit of its citizens.
The new road, over hilly terrain through one of the island’s productive agricultural valleys, is already starting to make a real difference in the lives of Cape Verdean families, farmers, businesses, nongovernmental organizations, and social service providers who live and work in communities along its path. It is a six meter wide road with improved safety and drainage systems, complying with environmental and social requirements. We estimate that nearly 12,500 people will directly benefit from just this 10.2 kilometer stretch of road. They will now be able to reach markets more efficiently and have better access to schools and other community services.
This road is just one component of Cape Verde’s MCC compact, aimed also at increasing agricultural productivity, modernizing the Port of Praia-the nation’s capital-and fostering private sector development. Reliable road infrastructure is indispensable to the long-term success of projects in these other sectors. The fact that the Government of Cape Verde, with Parliament’s endorsement, set aside a maintenance fund for upkeep of the newly constructed road and others being refurbished demonstrates a commitment to quality and sustainability.
In these ways, the new road brings new opportunities. The statement I delivered at the road inauguration on behalf of MCC’s Acting CEO Rodney Bent reaffirms our determination to build on the success of this first opportunity to now realize the potential of the MCC-Cape Verde compact. My MCC colleagues and I are very proud to be part of this partnership between the US and Cape Verde that made this investment possible, concrete evidence of the historic friendship between our peoples.