JB hails U.S. over Malawi electricity aid reinstatement

Malawi’s Head of State Mrs. Joyce Banda has hailed the Board of the Millennium Challenge Account (MCC) of the United States Government for its unanimous decision on Thursday to lift the suspension of the Malawi Compact.

“The Chief Executive Officer of the MCC Mr. Daniel Yohannes called me last night immediately after the Board concluded its meeting on Malawi to inform me that the decision to reinstate the compact is in recognition of the steps taken by my Government in the last seven weeks to address issues related to political and economic governance including respect of human rights and the rule law and the restoration of the programme with the IMF,” President Banda said in a statement to the nation made at the New State House in Lilongwe on Friday where journalistss, cabinet ministers and some senior members of the governing People’s Party (PP) were present.

President Banda and First Gentleman at the news conference

“As some of you may be aware, the MCC put Malawi Compact on operational hold in July 2011 following the deaths of Malawians during the demonstrations. The Compact was the suspended in March 2012 following the deterioration in the political and economic environment,” said Banda, adding that Thursday’s decision by the MCC Board means that Malawi will now benefit from a US$350 million investment in the power sector, which will lead to the reduction of power outages and technical losses.

The Malawi leader also said the reinstatement of the Malawi Compact will also enhance the efficiency and sustainability of power generation, improve service delivery to electricity consumers, lead to increased productivity in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors, and provide approximately US$2 billion of benefits to an estimated five million Malawians.

“This is very good news to me personally, to my Government and to people of goodwill for Malawi. When I met the MCC team in Washington DC just two weeks ago, I conveyed the commitment of Malawians, my Government and myself to ushering in a new Malawi and improving of economic and political governance.

“I was, however, aware that the MCC board meeting of the 21st June remained critical in terms of making the ultimate decision for Malawi’s Compact. I am therefore pleased that the outcome is positive for Malawi,” she said.

President Banda noted that the main objective of her administration was to reduce poverty in Malawi and that the objective is similar to the MCC’s vision of “Poverty Reduction Through Growth” and that therefore the Government of Malawi and MCC will work in tandem to better the lives of Malawians.

President Banda pledged that her Government, through the Millennium Challenge Account-Malawi, will work closely with MCC to ensure that the Compact becomes effective “as soon as possible and the projects are implemented efficiently to the benefit of the country.

“Mr. Yohannes has informed me that he will be sending a team into Malawi to work on the Malawi Compact with our Malawi Office,” disclosed President Banda.

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