Kathryn Edwards, Public Affairs Officer – Embassy of The United States of America. Banjul
Mr Matthew Langhenry from the United States government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) visited Banjul May 24th to June 5th to conduct consultations with the Gambian government, private-sector, international partners, and civil society as part of MCC’s relaunch of the development of a threshold programme with The Gambia. Mr Langhenry’s visit was a precursor to MCC board of director approval of the proposed programme, which will support The Gambia’s efforts to improve generation and delivery of electricity as a key component of economic growth.
On Thursday, 3 June 2021, Mr Langhenry and US Ambassador Carl Paschall were warmly welcomed by Vice President Isatou Touray on behalf of President Adama Barrow. The vice president expressed the Gambian government’s strong support for the partnership with MCC, and its intent to expedite completion of the agreement and launch of the threshold programme.
The MCC’s efforts will focus on improving reliable access to electricity, the lack thereof is a binding constraint to Gambian government objectives to spur economic growth and reduce poverty. Greater reliability of the electricity supply will lower economic costs in the form of lost productivity, equipment damage, spoilage of foodstuffs, and the cost for procurement and operation of backup generators by both the public and private sectors. The project aims to support Nawec’s objectives to improve fiscal and operational management, including structural and government policy reforms, to ensure that the sector will be better positioned to address both near-term challenges and plan for future investments, such as connections to regional power producers and renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and hydropower.
The United States government and the government of The Gambia aim to finalise the programme agreement and begin activities later in 2021. Mr Langhenry, who is presently completing a 4-1/2-year MCC assignment in Sierra Leone, is slated to assume the duties of full-time Resident MCC threshold director at the US Embassy in Banjul in the coming months.