18.12.2008

Consultations on MCA work plan starts

The Government has started consultations on its work plan to enable the country access up to US$700 million under the United States of America (USA)'s Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) following Zambia's qualification last week.

The MCA is a bilateral development fund that was created in 2004 and selection is on a competitive basis through a set of 16 indicators that measure a country's effectiveness at good governance, investing in people and fostering free enterprise. The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) selected Zambia to access the funds aimed at reducing poverty through income-generation and economic growth following the country's good performance in governance programmes.

Secretary to the Treasury, Likolo Ndalamei said in Lusaka in an interview that the Government was working towards accessing between US$600 million and US$700 million under the MCA and was consulting on how best that could be achieved. "We are sending a team of officers to Tanzania for consultations because that country previously accessed US$700 million under the same arrangement and we feel that we can learn a lot from our colleagues," Mr Ndalamei said.

Mr Ndalamei said the Government was very excited about the programme and would ensure that the funds contributed to the uplifting of the living standards of the people.
He paid tribute to the US for its confidence in Zambia's policies and programmes aimed at developing the country. "We are very happy that we qualified to access the grant under MCA. This is all because as a country, we have continued to work hard in ensuring that the lives of our people are made better," he said.

Zambia is the only African country of the three countries worldwide that have this year qualified to access grant funds under the US's MCA. The other two countries were Colombia and Indonesia.
Last week, United States embassy charge d'affaires Michael Koplovsky said the grant would give an opportunity for the Zambian Government to undertake a massive effort to reduce poverty in ways aligned with the Fifth National Development Plan (FNDP). Zambia's qualification was announced in Washington DC on Thursday last week.

The MCA has formally recognised the Zambian Government's commitment to investing in its people through education, health care, commitment to free markets, facilitating business, governance and fighting corruption.
He said the qualification was a huge milestone in assisting to improve the economic development and reducing poverty among Zambians. (The Times of Zambia)

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