am excited to be in Senegal! I was last here to lead the U.S. delegation to the inauguration of President Sall. It is good to return now to see for myself what the partnership between Senegal and the U.S. Government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation is accomplishing.
And, it is a great honor to be joined both by the President and Prime Minister of Senegal for this event, which shows their continued strong personal support for the success of the Senegal-MCC compact.
This compact reflects a new model for partnering, one where countries are in charge of setting their own development priorities as well as designing and implementing their own programs. With our model, countries, including Senegal, are in charge of their development, while MCC plays a supporting role. Simply put, countries lead and we follow, not the other way around.
The Senegal-MCC partnership reflects a commitment to good governance, transparency, economic opportunity, and food security. I am pleased to see that Senegal is reforming policies and constructing new infrastructure to make this commitment a reality. Both in principle and practice, the Senegalese people prove they are eager and ready to replace poverty with prosperity and continue forward on the path to greater economic progress.
That is why I am particularly pleased to join you here in Casamance to mark the beginning of activities that will rehabilitate key infrastructure, namely: at least 256 kilometers of the RN6 highway from Ziguinchor and the bridge at Kolda.
This work represents nearly one-third of Senegal’s $540 million MCC compact that will forever change the lives of Senegal’s poor for the better. Our partnership focuses on unlocking Senegal’s agricultural productivity and expanding access to markets and services by rehabilitating national roads and investing in strategic infrastructure for irrigation and water resource management.
We all know the importance of the RN6 and the Kolda bridge. They will connect communities, families and markets. Soon, you will be able to travel from here to Ziguinchor in just a few hours. The road will bring new businesses and new opportunities that stretch beyond Senegal’s borders to Mali and Guinea too. And these opportunities will generate deeper prosperity for the Casamance region, with its fertile soil and productive fields.
I am pleased to see that construction will start soon.
Now, I challenge you to work diligently to complete this project on time and on budget to deliver a high-quality and lasting highway and bridge that will serve the people of this region.
And, when I return to Senegal in the future, I look forward to seeing the many positive benefits these projects will bring to Casamance.