The Republic of Zambia, represented by Hon. Situmbeko Musokotwane, Minister of Finance and National Planning, officially signed the first amendment to the Compact Development Funding Grant Agreement with the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) on the 16th of November 2023.
The ceremony was attended by Mr. Michael Gonzales, the United States Ambassador to Zambia, Mr. Cameron Alford, Vice President for Compact Operations at MCC, Mr. Felix Nkulukusa, Secretary to the Treasury, senior government officials, members of the press, and distinguished guests.
The original agreement, inked on the 8th of December 2022, earmarked a grant of US$8.3 million to facilitate the development of the second Compact between the Republic of Zambia and MCC.
According to Hon. Situmbeko Musokotwane, the first amendment seeks to augment the grant funding, increasing it from US$8.3 million to US$12 million.
He highlighted the role of the MCC, an independent foreign assistance agency of the United States Government, in supporting developing countries to reduce poverty through sustainable economic growth.
The MCC’s assistance is contingent upon good governance, economic freedom, and investments in areas such as health, education, and gender equality.
Hon. Musokotwane noted that Zambia’s collaboration with MCC dates back to 2004 when the country was selected for a Threshold Program.
Over the years, he stated that MCC provided substantial grants, including US$22 million for the Threshold Program (2006-2008) and US$354.8 million for water, sanitation, and drainage infrastructure in Lusaka (2013-2018).
The latest amendment is a testament to Zambia’s ongoing commitment to solid economic and fiscal policies, institutional capacity-building, and the well-being of its citizens, he disclosed.
The Second Compact, currently in development, aims to enhance agriculture production and productivity through infrastructure investments, facilitate access to finance for electricity, smart irrigation, and logistics capital inputs, and strengthen policies and institutions.
The increased grant funding will support activities related to the definition of project components, preliminary program design, feasibility studies, and administrative costs.
Hon. Situmbeko Musokotwane expressed gratitude to the United States Government and MCC for their collaboration and financial support, highlighting the enduring bilateral relations between Zambia and the United States.
The signing ceremony marks a significant step in advancing the shared goals of poverty reduction and sustainable economic growth.
As Zambia continues its partnership with MCC, Hon. Musokotwane notes that this amendment signals a strengthened commitment to mutual development objectives, with the increased funding poised to drive impactful initiatives for the benefit of the Zambian people.