I am thrilled to be here with you to celebrate the completion of work on National Road 2. The rehabilitation of 120 kilometers of road, stretching from Richard Toll to Ndioum, is a product of the close collaboration between the Government of Senegal and the U.S. government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation. Together, we are reducing poverty through sustainable economic development.
Across Africa, the lack of reliable infrastructure like roads is restricting economic growth and limiting trade between neighbors. Economists estimate that the economy of sub-Saharan Africa would grow significantly faster—by 2 percentage points—if it had the infrastructure it needed to facilitate trade.
And in a country like Senegal, where a large percentage of people work in agriculture, reliable transportation is especially vital to get crops to market. A quality, well-maintained road network serves as a lifeline for distributing agricultural products across the country and beyond.
That is why this road—now wider and stronger—will play a crucial role in the Emerging Senegal Plan, the government’s ambitious plan for economic growth.
Just ask someone like Oumar Sow, a truck driver from Ndioum. Two or three times each week, Oumar makes the 435-kilometer drive from Ndioum to the capital. He leaves Ndioum in the early hours, hauling a truck full of sheep. He returns from Dakar the next day with a load of cement.
For years, Oumar avoided the bumpy RN2 highway altogether. Today, it is the smoothest portion of his trip. For years, his trip took up to 10 hours each way. Today, it takes six hours. For years, Oumar was spending more money and time replacing brakes and buying extra fuel because of the poor quality of the road. Today, he can use that money to invest in his business and his future.
It is clear that the rehabilitation of RN 2 is already having a positive impact for people like Oumar Sow, and we expect more lives will be changed for the better in the months and years ahead.
But the work doesn’t end here. The Government of Senegal intends to invest in the road’s upkeep after the MCC Compact has been completed to make sure that people like Oumar can continue to reap the benefits.
The government has already demonstrated a steadfast commitment to this project and to improving the country’s transportation infrastructure more broadly. In particular, recent reforms in road maintenance institutions, specifically AGEROUTE and FER-A, complement the work of the MCC compact and will help further the country’s sustainable growth.
So I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your cooperation and dedication. As we mark the completion of this road, I want to congratulate the Prime Minster, the Minister of Infrastructure, MCA-Senegal and our MCC country team for their tremendous efforts to help us reach this celebration. And I hope that this road will pave the way for continued partnerships between Senegal and the U.S. government to help unleash the huge economic potential of this country and your people.