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Tanzania won high praise here on Friday for exemplary implementation of projects under
the 698 million US dollars compact provided by the Millennium Challenge
Corporation (MCC), the US government arm said it had no qualms negotiating a
follow-up package. 


The MCC
Chief Executive Officer, Mr Daniel Yohannes, said during a conversation on
Tanzania at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) that he
was very pleased with Tanzania’s performance. 

“I
am extremely proud of MCC’s partnership with Tanzania. It stands as a pillar of
bilateral relations with the United Nations and an example for Africa in moving
towards brighter future and prosperity,” he said. 

Mr
Yohannes attributed Tanzania’s success to President Jakaya Kikwete’s keen
guidance. “He has been fantastic in providing leadership and support.

He knows
every single detail of the compact,” he said.  The Millennium
Challenge Account for Tanzania, whose first phase expires next year, covers
energy, power supply and transportation infrastructure projects. The CEO said
negotiation for the next phase would await final report on implementation of
the current package which will assess the quality and sustainability of the
projects. 

However,
the mood at MCC and the US government is upbeat about the handling of the
funding released to President Kikwete’s government, which was two thirds of the
total MCC disbursement so far. Observers believe the prospect of a follow-up
compact is all but guaranteed. 

The MCC
funds projects that help de-bottleneck factors impeding sustained economic
growth in developing countries. Tanzania’s next package is expected to dwell
further on power supply and rural roads.  Speaking at the CSIS forum,
President Kikwete praised MCC approach which, he said, gave recipient countries
decision on projects to be funded.

“We
told them our priority is roads and we proposed roads in Southern Tanzania,
which had been turned down by other donors,” he said.  The President
said MCC support would greatly compliment Tanzania’s efforts to modernize
agriculture which had the potential to alleviate poverty and improve nutrition
among a majority of the people who live off the land. 

He said
local and international private sector investment in agriculture would be
encouraged, dismissing what he termed as propaganda by some foreign media that
participation of foreigners in large farming would alienate the people from the
land.  He said under the approved model, large farmers would support
smallholders around them with inputs and provide market for their produce.
“We
have an American company, which has been allocated 5,000 hectares at Kilombero.
They are producing 18,000 tonnes of rice, the largest single producer in East
Africa, supporting the community around them. That is not land grabbing,”
he said. 

The
President said in response to a question, that the country was building
capacity to manage the potential wealth to be created by the discovery of vast
deposits of natural gas and probably oil. “We are making preparations for
proper management of the potential wealth. We pray that the discovery does not
turn into a curse,” he said. 

Earlier,
President Kikwete attended a high level breakfast briefing on scaling up
nutrition at the US Senate building, where legislators, government and civil
society officials argued a case for integration of food security with
nutrition. 

He is
today scheduled to attend an international symposium on Global Agriculture and
Food Security, which will also be addressed by US President Barack Obama ahead
of the G8 Summit at Camp David here on Sunday
Source: Daily News

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