Good afternoon. President Banda and I just finished a very productive and fruitful meeting. I shared with her our genuine enthusiasm to be working together with the people and Government of Malawi. I also congratulated the President on her first 100 days in office, during which she moved swiftly in her commitment to improve the lives of Malawians. Madame President, it was a great pleasure to meet you and I look forward to our continued partnership.
This is my first trip to Malawi, and I am sure it will not be my last. I came to personally meet with President Banda to underscore how much the United States, including the Millennium Challenge Corporation, values our partnership. The friendly bilateral ties of cooperation between the United States and Malawi are strengthened by the commitment to democratic governance.
President Banda deserves much credit for the bold reforms she is undertaking. She is truly a force of good sense and good heart. Yet I share her recognition that this work would not be possible without the support of the people of Malawi. They will need to continue to take the courageous steps necessary to deepen this country’s democracy. A strong commitment to good democratic and economic governance is at the heart of the partnership between Malawi and the Millennium Challenge Corporation.
MCC will continue to closely follow the changing democratic and economic landscape in Malawi. Ongoing governance reform is key as we work now on the reinstatement of our 350 million dollar compact in the energy sector. As the people of Malawi know, the electricity sector is in a dire state. The MCC-funded project is expected to be a critical part of the sector’s turnaround and should have a very significant impact on Malawi more broadly.
However, it will not be easy. The project is ambitious and complex, and it will take several years for MCC-funded investments to be felt by the people as new infrastructure is designed, procured and constructed across this country. During this period, critical policy reforms need to be sustained and expanded.
Through our partnership, Malawi has the opportunity to replace a crumbling and decaying electricity sector with a growing and expanding one.
Through our partnership, Malawi has the opportunity to replace poverty with hope and prosperity.
President Banda and the people of Malawi have shown the “power of the possible.” Just three months ago, no one would have imagined the boldness or swiftness of these kinds of reforms possible. And yet here we are today.
Madame President, to you and your team and to all the Malawians dedicated to the virtues of democracy, human rights and sound economic management, I offer my congratulations. I am hopeful that the same level of energy and commitment that brought us to this momentous point in our partnership will carry us forward now. Thank you.