By Omolara Abiona
With the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s approval for Senegal to move forward in developing a new compact, U.S. and African private sector leaders gathered on Feb. 16, to weigh in on proposed projects for the West African nation’s second compact at the “Power of Senegal” event in Washington, D.C.
Officials from Senegal presented an overview of the new compact that focuses on expanding access to affordable energy and modernizing electricity distribution systems. Compacts are five-year grants for selected countries that meet MCC’s eligibility criteria.
During the opening remarks, IGD President and CEO Dr. Mima Nedelcovych spoke about how the growth and maturation of the African private sector will contribute to greater private sector involvement in accelerating Senegal’s access to affordable energy through the MCC compact.
“With the emergence of African born-and-bred businesses, engagement with Africa on U.S. foreign assistance programs can now expand to partnering with African companies and soliciting input from private sector actors for market-led development efforts,” said Dr. Nedelcovych, who also serves as co-chair of the MCC Advisory Council.
Private sector attendees from the IGD Frontier Leader Network attended the event. Representatives from the World Bank, United States Trade and Development Agency, and the United States Department of Commerce were also present.
This second compact follows Senegal’s successful 2009 MCC compact, which was completed in 2015. The compact yielded impactful results, such as expanding irrigation across 42,000 hectares of land and upgrading over 372 kilometers of national road networks.
MCC Acting CEO Jonathan Nash’s welcome remarks outlined the overall vision for the new Senegal compact. “In partnership with the Government’s compact development team, we’ve outlined proposed projects to address those constraints, and increase economic growth and investment in Senegal. Strengthening Senegal’s power sector will drive growth, expand opportunity for the people of Senegal, and help reduce poverty,” said Nash.
The Senegal Compact Development team from l’Unité de Formulation et de Coordination du second programme MCA-Sénégal, or the Formulation and Coordination Unit for the Second MCA-Senegal Compact, (UFC-MCA) presented four proposed projects to private sector leaders: Diversification of Generation Sources, Fleet Optimization and Demand Management; Improving Access to Electricity in Rural and Peri-Urban Areas; Modernization and Expansion of Transmission and Distribution Networks; and Improving the Legal Framework and Sector Capacity Building.
During the presentation, Marième Decreane, National Coordinator of the Senegal Compact Development team, emphasized securing project financing from additional sources to complement the MCC compact.
“MCC financing will complement and help to leverage other streams of finance to allow us to meet our development goals, including lowering cost of & improving access to energy.”
Dr. Nedelcovych pointed out that inclusive economic growth can only occur when there is universal access to energy and urged attendees to prioritize private sector investment in Senegal’s power sector.
“We all know that growth can only come from adding value to the products we produce and we cannot add value without affordable power,” said Nedelcovych. “It is very simple; no power, no growth!”
The IGD President mentioned that the upcoming Africa Investment Rising Roadshow Tour will feature a roadshow stop in Houston that highlights opportunities for investing in the power and energy sector in Africa. The U.S. roadshow tour, to be held from Apr. 18-May 1, is a multi-city series of site visits for the African delegation, panel discussions, and speed networking among investors and business leaders to spur greater U.S. investment in Africa.
The remarks and the presentation led to the facilitated feedback session, where Decreane, MCC Senegal Country Team Leader David Weld and Senegal Permanent Secretary of Energy Papa Mademba Biteye received feedback on the proposed projects. Regional integration, economic rate of return, local engagement and employment, and use of mobile payments in rural areas were some of the topics presented during this dialogue.
If your company is interested in potential projects and leveraging your experience in the Senegal Compact, email Jason Bauer, MCC Director of Finance, Investment, and Trade, to set up an appointment.
Omolara Abiona is a Communications Assistant at the Initiative for Global Development.