Mozambique: Marrule to Run MCC-Mozambique Office

Maputo — Mozambican Prime Minister Carlos Agostinho do Rosario on Thursday demanded correct use of the funds granted to Mozambique by the United States Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), as well as scrupulous compliance with the deadlines agreed for implementing MCC projects.

Rosario gave these instructions to the new national coordinator of the Office charged with developing the Second Programme of the MCC-Mozambique, former agriculture minister, Higino de Marrule, as he was swearing him into office.

The MCC selected Mozambique for a second package of development support (known as a “compact”) in December 2019.

MCC compacts are for five years, and are intended, the MCC Board says, “to reduce poverty through targeted investments that increase economic growth”. A release from the US Embassy in December said “together with the almost 500 million dollars of development aid provided annually by the United States government, this choice of Mozambique by the MCC strengthens still further our commitment to effect a partnership with the country in promoting more inclusive economic growth and political reforms that strengthen the rule of law and democracy”.

The first MCC compact was signed in 2007 and ran for five years. It was a grant of 506.9 million dollars, of which only 447.9 million (88 per cent) was spent.

The largest component was a water and sanitation project budgeted at 203.6 million dollars intended to improve access to safe, reliable water supplies and sanitation services. According to the MCC’s own summary of the first compact, project teams constructed more than 614 rural water points (boreholes with hand pumps), upgraded and expanded two municipal drainage systems, and upgraded and expanded two urban water supply systems.

Road building and rehabilitation was to have taken 176.3 million dollars of the compact (although only 136.8 million dollars was actually spent). The target was to rehabilitate 491 kilometres on key stretches of the main north-south highway (EN1), but this target was eventually cut back to 253 kilometres. The work was not completed until December 2014, well after the end of the compact.

The delay in completing some of the projects in the first compact meant that Mozambique did not become immediately eligible for a second compact.

The MCC now claims that the first compact was brought to a successful conclusion in September 2013, and that “a new compact would build on the country’s continued commitment to sector reform and MCC’s strong relationship with the country”.

The MCC is an agency of the United States government, which was set up by the US Congress in 2004. It declares that it is an independent agency that is not run either by the State Department or by the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

At the Thursday ceremony, Rosario said he hopes to see more active involvement by private business, civil society organisations, and academic institutions in implementing the second MCC-Mozambique compact.

He recommended that Marrule make the Development Office speedily operational, and stressed the importance of identifying concrete projects eligible for MCC funding, which would have a major socio-economic impact.

MCC-Mozambique, said the Prime Minister, would complement the actions of the government, particularly in the areas of energy, road construction, water supply and sanitation.

He said the 2019 choice of Mozambique for a second compact was “recognition of the Mozambican government’s undertaking to adopt economic policies and reforms that encourage development”.



Source: Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique