On February 10th, Prime Minister of Cape Verde José Maria Neves and Millennium Challenge Corporation Chief Executive Officer Daniel Yohannes presided over a ceremony in Praia, the capital of Cape Verde. They were celebrating the signing of the country’s second 5-year Millennium Challenge Corporation, or MCC, compact, worth $66.2 million.
MCC forms partnerships with some of the world’s poorest countries, but only those committed to good governance, economic freedom, and investments in their citizens. MCC provides these well-performing countries with large-scale grants, called compacts, to fund country-led solutions for reducing poverty through sustainable economic growth.
MCC’s new compact program in Cape Verde builds on the success of Cape Verde’s first MCC compact, which was completed in October 2010. The goal of the new compact overall is to reduce poverty and to increase household incomes by reforming two sectors that hold back economic growth: the water and sanitation sector, and the land management sector.
Improving performance in these sectors would help Cape Verde shift from relying on foreign aid and remittances from abroad, to working toward attracting investment in the country’s private sector and generating economic development.
Cape Verde is an island country, an archipelago of ten islands located in the central Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Western Africa. The islands are rocky, sandy and dry. Fresh water is a scarce and precious commodity.
That is why improvement in water management and sanitation is a top priority. So nearly two thirds of the funds provided by the MCC, $41.1 million, will go toward the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene, or WASH, Project. Transforming inefficient utilities into independent corporate entities will increase efficiency, improve water quality and increase water and sanitation infrastructure to under-served areas.
The compact’s final $17.3 million will go toward creating a single reliable and easily accessible source of land rights and land boundaries information, designed to make Cape Verde more inviting to small investors, and to reduce land registration time and costs. This project is expected to increase tourism and real estate development.
“Cape Verde, a model for democracy and stability in Africa,” said MCC Chief Executive Officer Daniel Yohannes, “has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to building a self-sustaining, high-growth economy through policy and institutional reforms, infrastructure development and private sector engagement. ... MCC is proud to partner again with Cape Verde on this second compact.”