Hamjambo! Vipi Mambo? As-salam alaykum.
It is wonderful to be back in Tanzania to celebrate another achievement in the partnership between your country and the U.S. Government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation.
For the past five years, Tanzania and MCC have been working with great purpose to complete the projects that make up your 698 million dollar MCC compact. These projects are expected to reduce poverty through economic growth by investing in three key sectors: transportation, water and energy.
And I want to especially thank President Kikwete for supporting Tanzania’s compact. Part of the President’s legacy—among many achievements—was signing Tanzania’s first compact, seeing its completion, and helping Tanzania qualify for a second MCC compact.
This September will mark the official completion of Tanzania’s first MCC compact, and I have returned ahead of that important date to celebrate with you the progress that has been made.
Today, I am excited to join you to mark the opening of this new highway from Tanga to Horohoro. Congratulations on this achievement! I was last here in May of 2010, when President Kikwete, Ambassador Lenhardt and I together marked the start of construction. I said then that I would return when the road is completed. Well, here I am! And, what a difference three years makes.
Sixty-five kilometers of road have been improved, paved and widened. Safety barriers have been installed to protect those on foot or on bicycles from those driving vehicles. Eleven bridges have been upgraded. Six walkways have been added.
This is a sight to see! And, this road is more than asphalt; it is a gateway to opportunity.
It drives commerce and trade, which mean more business opportunities and more jobs.
This road is already becoming a key regional trade link between the port of Mombasa in Kenya and all of northeast Tanzania and beyond. Trucks from as far away as Burundi have already been seen using it to boost trade within the region. Going forward, we will systematically and scientifically measure the benefits of this improved road over time. But, we are already hearing stories of how the volume of traffic is increasing substantially in both directions.
We expect the road to also benefit the local entrepreneurs who live along it and who are working hard to create livelihoods to support themselves and their families. I am inspired by the stories I hear of a roadside restaurant owner who is hopeful now that more customers will stop to enjoy a meal at her place. Or the teenaged entrepreneur who is strapping an ice chest to his bike and selling desserts to remote villages that this road now lets him access. Or the truck driver who is driving the length of the new road now in less time and with lower maintenance costs.
And the road should certainly help more and more Tanzanians get to schools and health centers.
Make no mistake about this: By providing the necessary access to commerce and vital community services, the Tanga-Horohoro highway creates a corridor for economic opportunity and growth here in Tanzania and for all of East Africa.
Let me extend my personal gratitude to all those who worked with such diligence and professionalism to complete this road. You showed a genuine respect for quality, the environment and the interests of those who live along the road.
So, I thank the managers and staff of all the contractors who worked to make the road a reality.
I thank Regional Commissioner Ms. Chiku Galawa and her officers and staff.
And, I thank MCA-Tanzania’s leadership and team for managing the completion of the contracts.
Now, it is absolutely essential that the road is maintained. You must invest in its ongoing upkeep. What has been built must be sustained so that the Tanga-Horohoro highway can remain a driving force for prosperity today, tomorrow and well into the future.
Even as Tanzania prepares to develop another MCC compact, we will forever know the successes of our first partnership together if the Tanga-Horohoro highway remains a strong, useable, viable gateway to economic growth and opportunity. Let us walk away from today’s celebration committed to this course of action for the benefit of the people of Tanzania.
Congratulations again, and thank you very much.