It is wonderful to be here to celebrate a new chapter in the close and cordial partnership between Zambia and the United States. Our friendship is built on shared values—on a commitment to economic growth, sustainable development, democratic principles, and good governance that fights corruption.
I bring warm greetings from President Barack Obama and the American people on this important day for Zambia.
I was here last June when our two countries co-hosted the AGOA Forum. Today, I am pleased to return to Lusaka to sign a $355 million compact between Zambia and the U.S. Government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation to reduce poverty and promote economic growth.
Congratulations and thanks to MCA-Zambia national coordinator Mrs. Pamela Bwalya, and her entire team, for their outstanding work in bringing us to this signing.
MCC takes a different approach to development.
We believe that our investments can—and will only—be sustainable if they are driven by our partner countries themselves. Zambia knows best what Zambia needs for long-term poverty reduction and economic growth. So, true to the MCC principle of country-owned development, this compact is by and for the people of Zambia, both men and women.
In addition to country-owned development, the Zambia-MCC partnership practices other principles key to development effectiveness. These include: making tough policy reforms for sustainability and embracing mutual accountability to deliver tangible results.
By practicing these principles, Zambia’s MCC compact focuses on water, sanitation and drainage.
It addresses a major barrier to economic growth by helping to transform Lusaka’s water, sanitation and drainage sectors.
This will be achieved by improving infrastructure to expand coverage. This will also be achieved by investing in Zambia’s institutions so that they can maintain the upgrades and provide reliable service to the residents of Lusaka today and well into the future.
These investments are expected to have a meaningful impact on the lives of more than 1 million Zambians by improving their health and economic productivity as the spread of water-borne diseases decreases and by helping the country reduce poverty in a sustainable way through enhanced water security.
And, we will partner with the private sector, other donors and civil society to increase their participation in the water, sanitation and drainage sectors to sustain our efforts.
The fight against poverty transcends politics, and I’m pleased to see that the compact, which started to be developed under President Banda, begins its implementation now under President Sata. The free and fair elections and peaceful transition of power that took place last year are a tribute to the Zambian people and critical to an MCC partnership.
Now is the time to work with diligence and determination to fully implement this compact—on time and on budget—to deliver the sustainable impact the people of Zambia expect and deserve.
The Millennium Challenge Corporation is honored to partner with Zambia. Let us move now with resolve and purpose to achieve our shared goal for greater prosperity and progress here in Zambia.
Thank you so much.