Mr. President, on behalf of MCC leadership in Washington, D.C., I congratulate you on launching this compact. This is a program with huge potential for your country. We estimate that some four million people living in four regions, including Dosso, will benefit from investments in public goods that improve access to water, to markets and to new technologies. Together, we will spur economic growth for the people of Niger.
Mr. President, I would like to take this opportunity to recognize the MCA-Niger Board of Directors and the MCA-Niger team for all of their hard work and commitment. Their efforts made the launch of the compact possible. Demonstrating transparency and accountability, they have laid the foundation of a legal framework and organizational structure to assure effective implementation of this very ambitious investment. The Board has worked diligently to set up proper mechanisms for transparency and accountability. Throughout the compact, transparency and accountability will be hallmarks of the compact.
The MCA-Niger team has assembled an excellent group of experts to lead compact implementation. Under the leadership of Director General Mamane Annou, work is underway to deliver improvements in irrigation systems, roads, and livestock corridors. Progress is being made to build structures that will protect and improve natural resources, with the goal of supporting agriculture and livestock productivity for years to come.
The compact investment plan for this region of Dosso is particularly impressive. By 2023 thousands of hectares of irrigation systems will be established along the Niger River. Hundreds of kilometers of rehabilitated roads will connect you to markets and services.
Moreover, the MCA has a solid public awareness plan. Communications will be a powerful tool to solidify public support, as well as increase visibility. People are eager to see the progress of MCA-Niger and will always be watching. The more you share news of the progress, the more support you will receive from the beneficiary communities. Durable roads can’t be built in a short time. The process will last several years. There will be obstacles to overcome. Nonetheless, it is certain we will succeed.
In addition to the infrastructure investments, the compact will provide training for people, with a focus on women and youth. Women and youth have great potential to add value to agricultural production and to be more competitive in markets. This training will focus on agricultural productivity and literacy activities. It will also cover how to get organized, how to market together, and how to sustainably manage the irrigation systems. To keep us on track to meet our objectives, MCA-Niger is already putting in place a robust monitoring system.
Mr. President, along with the work of the Nigerian people, contributions from private sector investors will be the key to economic growth. I would like to applaud the willingness of this government to undertake the necessary reforms to attract private sector investment in and around the compact. You have already begun to do this in the fertilizer and seed sectors – bravo! These reforms create a more open and attractive business environment in Niger. Businesses of all sizes will be able to serve the population with new technologies and services that are much in demand.
In the long run, private investment will create jobs and boost sustainable economic growth – decreasing the need for development assistance. To maximize the compact’s investments in the public good, we must attract the private investors. The MCA-Niger has a strong team in place with an innovative plan to engage the private sector that will run parallel to compact implementation. Let’s work together to attract private investments of all sizes in sectors such as input supply, food processing, and transportation. These improvements are an important compliment to the rehabilitation of National Highway 35 (RN35) – and will continue to operate and serve the population well beyond the end of the compact.
From to Tillaberi, to Tahoua, to Maradi, and here in Dosso, MCC is excited to partner with the Government and join the people of Niger as we work together to bring greater prosperity and economic opportunity through these investments.
Mr. President – this is a great day! We at MCC wish the best of luck with implementation – we are here to support you every step of the way. Thank you.