Preparations for Malawi’s second Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) compact are on course despite several restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the United States (US) Government has said.
In a written response on Monday, US Embassy public affairs officer Douglas Johnston said both the Malawian and American governments have also continued to put in place administrative mechanisms to facilitate the development and eventual implementation of Malawi’s second compact.
The country is set to sign the second compact towards the end of 2021, with implementation starting early 2022.
In February 2020, the second compact entered the Project Definition Phase.
Said Johnston: “During this phase, the Malawi Millennium Development Trust (MMD) is working with MCC to develop and due diligence the project proposals that are the foundational documents for the compact.
“Even given restrictions due to Covid-19 since March, MMD and MCC continue to make progress.”
The second compact will tackle access to land, land titling, rural roads infrastructure and produce market linkages.
On the land project, Johnston said MMD and MCC staff are working with the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development and engaging city councils to discuss how the compact can assist in increasing the efficiency of Malawi’s land usage and administration.
Commenting on transportation and agriculture-focused project, Johnston said MMD and MCC is determining how to best support private and public sector actors in what they are calling Accelerated Growth Corridors that could serve as economic growth centres for agricultural value chains in Malawi.
He added: “The team is working closely with the transport-related governmental entities to increase sector competitiveness.
“We will soon be launching a survey to determine the level and areas of focus for private sector entities that are already investing or looking to invest in the agricultural sector.”
MCC country director for Malawi Joel Wiegert recently appealed for patience among Malawians for the second compact, saying practical implementation may begin in 2022.
He said: “There is some impatience, one would say we should rush and may be leave some things out but we will not have done well to get it right.
“All things being equal we anticipate the compact to roll out in 2022.”
Wiegert also clarified that the US government only offers two compacts to its partner countries such as Malawi, stressing that the country’s second compact will be the final in its nature; hence, needs thorough planning and execution to make a sustained economic impact.
On December 11 2018, MCC selected Malawi as an eligible country to develop a second compact based on Malawi’s excellent implementation of the first compact.
Malawi also met rigorous standards for good governance and economic management, according to MCC’s scorecard.
Malawi was the only country on the African continent to become eligible for the development of a second compact during this selection round.
The development of the second compact comes on the back of a successful implementation of the first $350.7 million energy compact, which expired on September 20 2018.