Saturday, May 19, 2012

Dar wins praise over MCC

Tanzania won high praise here on Friday for exemplary implementation of projects under the 698 million US dollars compact provided by the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), the US government arm said it had no qualms negotiating a follow-up package. 

The MCC Chief Executive Officer, Mr Daniel Yohannes, said during a conversation on Tanzania at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) that he was very pleased with Tanzania's performance. 

"I am extremely proud of MCC’s partnership with Tanzania. It stands as a pillar of bilateral relations with the United Nations and an example for Africa in moving towards brighter future and prosperity," he said. 

Mr Yohannes attributed Tanzania's success to President Jakaya Kikwete's keen guidance. "He has been fantastic in providing leadership and support.

He knows every single detail of the compact," he said.  The Millennium Challenge Account for Tanzania, whose first phase expires next year, covers energy, power supply and transportation infrastructure projects. The CEO said negotiation for the next phase would await final report on implementation of the current package which will assess the quality and sustainability of the projects. 

However, the mood at MCC and the US government is upbeat about the handling of the funding released to President Kikwete's government, which was two thirds of the total MCC disbursement so far. Observers believe the prospect of a follow-up compact is all but guaranteed. 

The MCC funds projects that help de-bottleneck factors impeding sustained economic growth in developing countries. Tanzania's next package is expected to dwell further on power supply and rural roads.  Speaking at the CSIS forum, President Kikwete praised MCC approach which, he said, gave recipient countries decision on projects to be funded.

"We told them our priority is roads and we proposed roads in Southern Tanzania, which had been turned down by other donors," he said.  The President said MCC support would greatly compliment Tanzania's efforts to modernize agriculture which had the potential to alleviate poverty and improve nutrition among a majority of the people who live off the land. 

He said local and international private sector investment in agriculture would be encouraged, dismissing what he termed as propaganda by some foreign media that participation of foreigners in large farming would alienate the people from the land.  He said under the approved model, large farmers would support smallholders around them with inputs and provide market for their produce.
"We have an American company, which has been allocated 5,000 hectares at Kilombero. They are producing 18,000 tonnes of rice, the largest single producer in East Africa, supporting the community around them. That is not land grabbing," he said. 

The President said in response to a question, that the country was building capacity to manage the potential wealth to be created by the discovery of vast deposits of natural gas and probably oil. "We are making preparations for proper management of the potential wealth. We pray that the discovery does not turn into a curse," he said. 

Earlier, President Kikwete attended a high level breakfast briefing on scaling up nutrition at the US Senate building, where legislators, government and civil society officials argued a case for integration of food security with nutrition. 

He is today scheduled to attend an international symposium on Global Agriculture and Food Security, which will also be addressed by US President Barack Obama ahead of the G8 Summit at Camp David here on Sunday

Source: Daily News

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