WASHINGTON, D.C., June 18, 2019 – At its quarterly meeting, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Board of Directors received an update from MCC Vice President of Administration and Finance (and Head of Agency) Cynthia Huger on agency operations. The Board also approved the minutes of the previous meeting, and was presented with preliminary results from the recently completed MCC Malawi and Zambia Compacts.
MCC, in partnership with the Government of Malawi, recently completed a five-year, $350.7 million investment in Malawi’s power sector. The compact took a system-wide approach, with projects in infrastructure, institutional reform, and watershed management. When developing the compact, analyses of Malawi’s economy revealed that it experienced substantial and consistent power outages of 8 to 12 hours a day due to insufficient power generation and old infrastructure, creating significant challenges for both businesses and households.
The compact’s infrastructure improvements included refurbishing the 1960s-era Nkula A hydropower plant, construction of new high voltage transmission lines, and investments in Malawi’s distribution network. To support sectoral reforms, MCC worked with the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) to establish better systems for financial and operational management, and also helped the government create a new power generation company (EGENCO), to create an enabling environment for private sector investment. The compact also established better environmental practice, including land and river management to boost hydropower generation. The MCC Malawi compact trained nearly 50,000 women in natural resource management and leadership, and supported power utilities in adopting gender policies.
MCC’s $354.8 million compact partnership with Zambia is expected to impact 1.2 million people over 20 years. The compact invested in urban water supply, sanitation and drainage infrastructure. Related institutional strengthening was designed to decrease time spent collecting water and reduce water-borne diseases and floods within the capital city of Lusaka. Other goals included improving municipal water services and stabilizing the finances of the city’s water utility.
The compact focused on infrastructure, strengthening partner institutions, and facilitating potential private sector investment opportunities. Infrastructure activities involved developing and rehabilitating Lusaka’s water supply network, expanding its water-borne sewage network, and improving its storm-water drainage. Institutional reform efforts entailed strengthening the ability of the municipal government and the water utility to provide quality water-related services and maintain the compact’s infrastructure investments. As part of these efforts, the compact drove the development of a waste management policy, the eventual passing of a Solid Waste Management and Regulation Law, and the establishment of an autonomous utility for waste collection and disposal. The compact also included a $10 million grant program to support innovative solutions to improve access to drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, household water and sanitation financing, and garbage management services for poor Lusaka communities.
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