The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) CEO Alice Albright recently visited The Gambia and Senegal to celebrate the progress of MCC grant programs and learn more about the ways people in those West African countries are positively impacted by the democracy-strengthening and poverty-reducing power of the MCC partnership.
“During this trip, I saw exactly how US government development resources foster global stability.” CEO Albright said.
“MCC is working with our partners in The Gambia and Senegal to target the biggest barriers to economic growth, help protect fundamental freedoms, ensure accountability, and create opportunities for people to thrive—particularly women, youth, and vulnerable populations.”
While in The Gambia, Albright, Vice President of The Gambia Muhammad Jallow, and US Ambassador Sharon Cromer toured sites in Banjul to get a feel for the economic growth constraints related to electrical power, education, and the underutilization of the Gambia River. They also celebrated the opening of the Millennium Challenge Account-Gambia (MCA-Gambia) Threshold Program offices. The $25 million MCC-Gambia Threshold Grant, signed in 2021, aims to address electrical power constraints by reducing outages and reforming power sector governance.
“This facility will go on to reform the energy sector, which is a critical bottleneck to national development,” Finance Minister of The Gambia Seedy Keita said in remarks delivered at the MCA-Gambia Threshold office opening. “We are solid partners, and we assure you that we will not disappoint.”
In 2022, The Gambia became eligible for an even larger MCC development grant, called a compact. Albright demonstrated the US government’s commitment to a long and productive partnership during her stop in The Gambia by announcing an initial $12 million grant to support the development of the proposed MCC-Gambia Compact. The Government of The Gambia will be able to use the $12 million grant to identify feasible plans for economy-boosting projects designed to improve secondary education for Gambian students and maximize the economic benefits of the Gambia River for the people.
During Albright’s tour of Senegal, she met with President Macky Sall and US Ambassador Mike Raynor to celebrate the current Power Compact and discuss plans for a proposed regional Blue Economy Compact. The Senegal Power Compact is funded by a $550 million grant from the United States and an additional $50 million contribution from the Government of Senegal. The objective of the Power Compact is to increase electrical power access to Senegal’s less developed communities and to implement energy sector governance reforms.
“The central and southern regions of Senegal have low access to electricity, quality education, and health services, and the proper environment to thrive is not there. Bringing electricity to these places will help reduce poverty,” said MCA Senegal CEO Oumar Diop. “Additionally, the new electricity code and energy regulation are key institutional reform achievements that will help address electricity costs and issues related to transparency, governance, and accountability.”
In 2022, MCC’s Board selected Senegal as eligible for a regional compact, which creates an opportunity for additional investment in infrastructure designed to boost trade with bordering countries. While in Senegal, Albright announced the Senegalese government’s desire to focus the proposed regional compact on coastal resources and related job opportunities for women, young people, and other vulnerable populations in the region. All told, MCC has invested more than $1 billion in Senegalese development projects throughout their fruitful, 20-year partnership. Some 1.6 million people benefited from the first compact, and the Power Compact is projected to benefit an estimated 12 million people.
The Millennium Challenge Corporation is an independent US government development agency working to reduce global poverty through economic growth. Created in 2004, MCC provides time-limited grants that pair investments in infrastructure with policy and institutional reforms to countries that meet rigorous standards for good governance, fighting corruption, and respecting democratic rights.