Washington, DC Flanked by Senior officials from the United States and the Republic of Mali, representatives of the two nations today signed a $461 million development Compact designed to reduce poverty in the West African nation.
President Amadou Tour of Mali and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice witnessed the ceremony for the Compact which was approved by the Board of Directors of the Millennium Challenge Corporation in October. The Compact was signed by Ambassador John J. Danilovich, CEO of MCC and from Mali, Moctar Ouane, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
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 MCC 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 which can be used for irrigated agriculture and the Bamako-Snou International Airport, gateway for regional and international trade.
The Compact we sign today with Mali is an affirmation of our shared partnership and our shared commitment to achieving the twin goals of poverty reduction and economic growth. By embracing the ambitious process of developing its Compact, Mali is now positioned to continue pursuing actions that will provide transformative opportunities for its people. This Compact promises to unleash growth in the business and agriculture sectors that will help replace poverty with prosperity for tens of thousands of Malians, said Ambassador Danilovich.
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.
Through this Compact, 40,000 Malian farmers and laborers as well as 100,000 school-aged children and their family members will have greater access to education, health services and markets. Over 50,000 workers will have formal employment because of improved opportunities in 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.