MCA-Namibia hosts compact closeout ceremony

WINDHOEK; The Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) Namibia held an official “compact closeout ceremony” in Windhoek on Tuesday.

The agreement between the governments of Namibia and the United States of America (USA), known as the ‘compact’, was aimed at reducing poverty through economic growth.

The agreement targeted the acceleration of development in three main sectors – tourism, agriculture and education – which it intends to use as catalysts for socio-economic development.

The compact was signed on 16 September 2008 and implemented in 2009. It ended in September this year.

Funding amounting to US.dollars 304.5 million (about N.dollars 3 billion) from the US government was availed for the compact through the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).

During Tuesday’s ceremony, the Chargé d’Affaires of the American Embassy in Namibia, John Kowalski said with the commencement of the compact in 2009, the US pledged to help Namibia improve its economic infrastructure.

“This endeavour required trust in each other’s commitment and ended in a proven competitive system with a solid record for managing infrastructure projects, as well as a strong understanding of each other’s goals, ideas and processes,” said Kowalski.

He said it is this new partnership, forged through five years of dedication, trust and hard work, that will serve as the foundation for future relations between the two countries.

As part of the compact, MCA-Namibia upgraded, renovated and equipped 48 schools in 10 out of the 14 regions in Namibia to a combined value of N.dollars 600 million. Schools amongst others received additional classrooms, administration blocks, science laboratories, computer laboratories, and library and ablution facilities.

In the tourism sector, a total of N.dollars 350 million was invested, amongst others to build staff villages and management infrastructure for the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) at the Etosha National Park.

As part of the Etosha exercise, 54 houses were built at Ombika, while 35 houses, management and support infrastructure, as well as tourism facilities were constructed at Galton Gate. All the houses have electricity, water and sewage connections and are equipped with fridges, stoves, and solar geysers.

In the agriculture sector, MCA-Namibia amongst other things procured 1,8 million Radio Frequency Identification Device (RFID) ear tags, 48 computers and hardware systems, 28 printers, and 90 barcode readers for the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry veterinary staff. This sub-activity totalled N.dollars 39.6 million.

Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry John Mutorwa also spoke at the event.

“We owe gratitude and thanks to the thousands and thousands of hands, heads and hearts who were emphatically involved and still remain so involved, in the practical and timeous implementation of all the agreed and planned projects,” he said.