U.S., Liberia To Sign US$257m MCC Liberia Compact Monday

Vice President Joseph N. Boakai will lead a Liberian delegation Monday to the signing of the US$257 million MCC Liberia Compact with the government of the United States in Washington, DC.

Other members of the Liberian delegation will be Minister of Finance and Development Planning Amara Konneh and Liberian Ambassador to the United States Jeremiah C. Sulunteh, according to a MICAT release.

The U.S. delegation to the signing ceremony will comprise Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Heather Higginbottom, Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) CEO Dana J. Hyde and U.S. Ambassador to Liberia Deborah R. Malac. The MCC Liberia Compact was approved by MCC’s Board of Directors at its quarterly meeting in September 2015.

The Compact highlights the United States’ rapid re-engagement with the country in its post-Ebola recovery, and will focus on hydropower generation, electricity sector reform, and road maintenance sector reform.
The Compact will celebrate a new, five-year partnership agreement.

It combines infrastructure investments with policy and institutional reforms designed to modernize the country's power sector and strengthen its road maintenance systems.

The investment complements the U.S. Government's efforts to help Liberia recover from the Ebola outbreak and significantly enhances the U.S. Government's Power Africa engagement in Liberia.

MCC is an innovative and independent U.S. agency that is working to reduce global poverty through economic growth.
 
Created by the U.S. Congress in January 2004, with strong bipartisan support, MCC provides time-limited grants and assistance to countries that demonstrate a commitment to good governance, investments in people and economic freedom.
 
The MICAT release noted that government’s attainment of the MCC compact also marks the Sirleaf Administration’s commitment to good governance and the successful implementation of important policy and regulatory reforms necessary to stimulate private investment.
 
In 2010, the MCC and government of Liberia signed a$15 million threshold program grant agreement that focused on improving land rights and access, increasing girls’ primary education enrollment and retention, and improving Liberia trade policy and practices, the release said.

In a related development, the U.S. Government says it will continue to collaborate with the Government of Liberia to achieve the objectives of the Technical Vocational Education (TVET) program.

U.S. Agency for International Development Food and Enterprise Development (USAID FED) Deputy Chief of Party, Boima Bafaie, made the commitment at the inauguration of a vegetable cold storage and a modern soil science laboratory both estimated at US245, 000 in Nimba County.

“The Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Youth and Sports are instrumental in creating those policies and regulations that ensure proper education in the area of Technical Vocational Education (TVET) for Liberian students,” Bafaie noted.

He said the establishment of the lab at the Nimba County Community College in Sanniquellie and a vegetable cold storage facility in Yekepa in Nimba County is intended to support the quality of agriculture education and increase the annual yield of farmers for profitability.

Boima further disclosed the setting up of a Center of Excellence, a two-year National Diploma in Agriculture course initiated by USAID FED and the Ministry of Education at the Booker Washington Institute and the Bassa, Lofa and Nimba Community Colleges.

USAID FED is the flagship program under the Feed the Future Initiative in Liberia and aims to increase productivity and profitability of food crops, stimulate agriculture enterprise and build agriculture workforce capacity.

It focuses on staples like rice and cassava and food-based value chains that can assist in improving nutrition and income, such as vegetables and goats as well as support local entrepreneur.
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