President Weah Vows to Ensure that Liberia Gets Another Compact; Promises to Take ‘Due Care’ of MCC’s Projects in Liberia
MONROVIA – President George Weah has assured the American government that his government will work tirelessly to ensure the projects under the Millennium Challenge Compact are protected, used for the intended purpose and managed sustainably.
“As President of Liberia, I take this responsibility seriously. I hereby assure the American people that my government will prioritize the due care regard of the investment made under the compact. Liberia will not remain complacent with only one compact; we will make it our mission to strive for the second one,” President Weah said.
The Liberian leader made the statement at the Millennium Challenge Compact closure ceremony at the Mount Coffee Hydro Plant on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. The President at the same time commissioned the 5km Raw Water Pipeline that will supply safe drinking water to greater parts of the country.
The eligibility for a compact requires that a country needs to scores 10 out of 20 points on the MCC country scorecard. In 2019, Liberia scored eight on the scorecard. In 2020, Liberia scores nine points on the scorecard.
President Weah said, “In order to ensure that Liberia’s performance on the MCC scorecard is realized, I have directed the MCC compact eligibility committee to work closely with the U.S. government and MCC to enable us to qualify for another compact in the future.”
The Liberian leader said he is delighted that the MCC compact has provided so much energy and road network – something he said had had a significant impact on Liberia’s economy.
He said since the completion of the Mount Coffee Hydro Power plant, Liberia has experienced greater growth in the energy sector thus increasing access from four percent to 12 percent.
He added that over 82,000 customers have been connected to the national grid while generation capacity has doubled in recent times.
Passing the score card
Also, the US Ambassador to Liberia Michael McCarthy told journalists at the end of the event that he is pleased with the work done at the Mount Coffee Hydro Plant, terming it as a genuine achievement for the country.
According to Ambassador McCarthy, Liberia needs to meet the necessary requirements in order for Liberia to get additional compact.
“We earnestly look forward to Liberia passing the Millennium Challenge report card so that we can start with the second compact,” Ambassador McCarthy said.
Contributing to Poverty Reduction
Monie R. Captan, the CEO of the Monie R. Captan, CEO of the Millennium Challenge Account Liberia (MCAL) said the Millennium Challenge Compact came into force on January 20, 1996 and it provided a grant of $256,726,000 for an energy project and a roads project.
These projects, Mr. Captan said, were selected in response to the findings of the Liberia Economic Constraints Analysis of 2013, which found that access to reliable and affordable electricity and poor road conditions were binding constraints to economic growth.
He said the compact set as its project objective provided access to more reliable and affordable electricity and improve the planning and execution of the routine, periodic and emergency road maintenance in the country.
“The project objectives are intended to facilitate the compact objective, which is poverty reduction. This is achieved by alleviating binding constraints to growth, thereby stimulating economic growth leading to employment and income generation and subsequently contributing to poverty reduction,” Mr. Captan said.
The Compact was administered by the Millennium Challenge Account Liberia, an accountable entity established by an Act of the Liberian Legislature on October 23, 2015, as a legal, independent, and autonomous agency of the Government of Liberia.
It is governed by a Board of Directors chaired by the Minister of Finance and Development Planning, and managed by a management team headed by a Chief Executive Officer.
Listing the electricity project activities, the MCAL CEO said the funding for the Mt. Coffee Hydroelectric Plant; the Compact covered 40% of the project cost while the Government of Norway, Government of Germany through its development bank KfW, and the European Investment Bank covered the remaining cost of the project.
Additionally, the compact provided extended funding support for the operations, maintenance, and training contractors for the hydro, he said.
Mr. Captan added that the Funding the reconstruction of the 5km Raw Water Pipeline; the development and Implementation of a training program for 500 LEC employees, the rehabilitation and equipping of the LEC Customer Service Center, the Management support to LEC through the funding of a management services agreement, the provision of materials to improve LEC electricity distribution, including specialized vehicles, poles, conductors, transformers, meters, tools, PPEs, spare parts, IT equipment and software are some of the activities of the electricity project.
“In closing I would like to, first of all, recognize President Weah for his strong support of the Compact. Most of you may not be aware, but when the compact went to the National Legislature for ratification, President Weah, then-Senator Weah, was very instrumental in getting the Compact ratified. Mr. President, thank you for that strategic support which now bears its fruits,” he said.