The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) is impressed with efforts by Malawi leader Joyce Banda and her administration to bring back the MCC Compact that seeks to revitalise Malawiâ€™s energy sector.
US embassy spokesperson Benjamin Canavan on Monday said an MCC team that was in the country last week to assess progress met, among several others, President Banda, government officials, representatives of civil society and the private sector and the countryâ€™s development partners.
Said Canavan: “MCC completed its mission encouraged by the new governmentâ€™s initial actions and optimism about the Banda administrationâ€™s intent to address the governance and management concerns that led to the suspension of the compact.”
But he emphasised that although the MCC appreciates that the issues are challenging and complex, it is still up to the Government of Malawi to take the steps necessary to reinstate the compact.
According to Canavan, the purpose of the missionâ€”which was led by MCC Vice-President for operations Patrick Fineâ€”was to discuss the status of the MCC Compact with President Banda and her administration and explore prospects for addressing the issues that led to the suspension of the initiative earlier this year.
“Discussions were open and constructive and covered a range of issues touching on economic governance, democratic rights, and technical considerations affecting investment in the power sector,” he said.
The delegation was in the country from April 25 to 28.
The MCC board, which is chaired by US secretary of state Hillary Clinton, suspended Malawiâ€™s $350 million (about K53 billion) MCC Compact programme following concerns over human rights, economic management and governance issues as well as Malawiâ€™s move to host wanted Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir in October last year.
Malawi awaits its final fate in June this year when the MCC board meets again.
Canavan could not immediately say what chances Malawi has to get back the compact and if any decision could be made before June.
US-based Malawian lobbyist Foster Fundi in an interview said that Malawi chances of getting the compact back “have increased exponentially and indeed dramatically.”
He said: “We still have to, however, demonstrate willingness and commitment to addressing the previously raised concerns. Changing guards at the helm of our political system does not in itself guarantee our reversal of fortunes. We must work for it even with this renewed optimism.”
Meanwhile, the MCC Malawi office, which was closed last year, has been reopened, a senior government official confirmed.