Today, September 9, marks an important milestone in the partnership between the U.S. Government and the Government of Senegal with the entry into force of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Senegal Power compact.
I am so pleased, along with my colleagues, to join you here today in Dakar to celebrate this accomplishment and the official start of the ‘five-year implementation clock’ of this historic program.
In the three years since the compact’s signature, all of you in this room – the leaders and decision-makers in the energy sector – worked tirelessly with our MCC team to achieve the ambitious power sector reforms required for entry into force, in addition to mobilizing the MCA-Senegal II and its Board of Directors. I heartily commend you all.
I would like to recognize President Sall for his personal engagement as well as members of the Government for their dedication and commitment to our joint work, including: the Secretary General of the Presidency, the Ministers represented on the MCA-Senegal II Board, specifically the Minister of Petroleum and Energy, and the partners, including the Director Generals of Senelec, CRSE, ASER and the former National Coordinator of UFC-MCA.
Additionally, I would like to thank the MCA-Senegal II, under the leadership of the Board, its Chair, Diatourou Ndiaye, its CEO, Oumar Diop, and the MCC Senegal team, under the leadership of MCC Resident Country Director, Molly Glenn, for their impressive collaboration and determination that have been vital in our collective successes to date.
It is inspiring to speak to you all today as we embark together on the next phase – the implementation phase – a phase that will be just, if not more, demanding and require the same level of engagement, collaboration, and leadership to achieve the goals of this program: to modernize the power sector and create tangible economic opportunities for millions of Senegalese.
I cannot think of a more important catalyst for Senegal’s development than a well-functioning and growing power sector. Access to reliable and affordable electricity directly impacts so many priority goals that Senegal has in the Plan Senegal Emergent, including expanding private investment and achieving universal access to electricity.
And today, marks a milestone in a long partnership between Senegal and MCC. Our partnership indeed dates back to MCC’s inception. In 2004 – 17 years ago – MCC was created and in that same year Senegal was named as one of the initial countries eligible to develop an MCC compact. This compact ultimately spurred economic growth by unlocking Senegal’s agricultural productivity. It expanded access to markets and services through strategic investments in roads and irrigation networks in the Senegal River Valley and the Casamance region.
Today, the Power Compact is another great example of our partnership. The U.S. Government investment of $550 million in this MCC program was ambitious from the outset; each project and activity was designed to fulfill our shared goal to reduce poverty through economic growth. The Government of Senegal’s additional $50 million investment in this compact is a testament to your country’s staunch commitment as well.
These investments position Senegal to meet the country’s impressive goals of increasing reliability and access to electricity and establishing a modern and efficient foundation upon which the nation’s electricity system can grow. Core to these goals is the understanding that the private sector must play a key role as well if we hope to sustain our successes and see them expand well into the future.
The compact investments are about more than multi-million-dollar infrastructure, undersea transmission cables, power lines, and transformers, or regulatory reform and policies – fundamentally these investments are about people. The compact is investing in the economic potential of the Senegalese people – families, women, youth – your children and grandchildren and future generations to come.
Your leadership and wisdom, over the next five years, as the innovators, catalyzers and risk-takers of the electricity sector, will help drive the successful completion of the compact’s vast investments in the electricity grid infrastructure and strategic reforms. Importantly, your work will create greater pathways towards prosperity for more than 12 million Senegalese.
As you know well, MCC partners with countries that take charge of their own development. The Government of Senegal and the partners have made a strong commitment to the institutional reforms necessary to transform the power sector, and we are proud to have partnered with you in these efforts. Congratulations on these transformational reforms – particularly, the adoption of the new electricity code.
I encourage you all to continue to be bold in efforts to implement reforms that will ensure the sustainability of these strategic infrastructure investments and make sure that the people and businesses of Senegal can fully realize the benefits of an improved, expanded and well-governed electricity sector.
All of you present here today have shown that you have the experience and vision needed to surpass the challenges ahead. The next five years will take hard work and collaboration, but we have seen over time, that the relationship between MCC and the Government of Senegal has produced significant. There is a Fulani proverb that says: “Weendu ko assatee hannde ko, momtirgol Domka janngo” meaning ”Wells must be dug today to quench the thirst of tomorrow.” Well, we are setting the path to quench the energy thirst of tomorrow.
MCC remains committed as your partner and collaborator to make this compact successful and to shape a brighter future for the Senegalese people. They deserve nothing less.
Thank you! Jerejef!