Remarks by MCC CEO Daniel W. Yohannes Inauguration of Tanga-Horohoro Road in Tanzania

Your Excellency President Jakaya Kikwete of the United Republic of Tanzania; The Honorable Alfonso Lenhardt, U.S. Ambassador to the United Republic of Tanzania and the newly appointed U.S. Ambassador to the East African Community; The Honorable Minister of Infrastructure Development Dr. Shukuru Kawambwa; The Honorable Permanent Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General and Chairman of the Board of MCA-Tanzania Mr.  Ramadhani Khijjah; The Honorable Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Infrastructure Development and member of the Board of MCA-Tanzania Mr.  Omar Chambo; The Honorable Regional Commissioner Said Kalembo; Chief Executive Officer of MCA-Tanzania Mzee Bernard Mchomvu;

Distinguished guests and ladies and gentlemen:

Hamjambo!  Vipi Mambo?  {Swahili for: How are you? What’s the news?}

Thank you for your warm welcome to Tanzania!  I welcome this opportunity to see for myself the progress underway as a result of Tanzania’s partnership with the U.S. Government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation.

President Kikwete, I applaud your vision and leadership to improve the lives of Tanzanians.  Tanzanians are pursuing homegrown solutions and investments to create opportunities for progress.  And, MCC is proud to partner with you and your fellow citizens to achieve sustainable development.  Mr. President, I commend your personal commitment to the full implementation of Tanzania’s MCC compact.

The Tanzania-MCC partnership manages a results-driven program—designed by and for the people of Tanzania—to promote sustainable economic growth, increase household income, and, ultimately, raise the quality of life in meaningful and sustainable ways.  Tanzania’s 698 million dollar MCC compact is investing in targeted infrastructure in three key sectors: transportation, energy, and water. And, these strategic investments will go a long way to: expand economic opportunities, better connect communities to markets, schools, and health clinics, stimulate private sector activities, and reduce water-borne diseases, which increase healthcare costs and decrease the productivity of the workforce.

We also recognize Tanzania’s commitment to co-finance projects for sustainable development.

Reflecting the strong bonds of friendship and cooperation between the United States and Tanzania—and with East Africa as a whole—I am proud that MCC is partnering with Tanzania to open up new opportunities for lasting prosperity.

Today’s groundbreaking on the rehabilitation of the Tanga-Horohoro road—made possible through Tanzania’s MCC compact—is proof of our shared commitment to deliver on the promise of opportunity. And, this road rehabilitation is significant for the people of Tanzania for three main reasons.

First, the rehabilitation plans respect the people who live along the road.  The plans to improve this road from Tanga to Horohoro included—not ignored—the wishes of Tanzanians involved in the necessary resettlement.  MCC recognizes that the sustainability of any project we fund, including this road rehabilitation, must consider environmental and social factors.  It must pursue resettlement efforts with great sensitivity and transparency.  And, our partner—MCA-Tanzania—acted in these responsible ways.

Nearly 1,000 people, who had to be resettled to make room for the upgraded and enlarged road, were compensated for the value of their land.  We know of Tanzanians who used their resettlement money to build bigger and better homes for their families.  As a model of country-led development, Tanzanian officials worked with faith communities to construct mosques and churches, which had to be moved away from the road’s path.  They also used the Government of Tanzania’s own funds to do this.  Here we see truly responsible, community-based, country-driven resettlement.

Second, the rehabilitation plans promote trade and business development.  Commerce fuels growth, and this road will become the engine of positive change, driving private enterprise and job creation.  It will improve the connection between the seaport of Tanga and the border town of Horohoro.  It will boost trade between Tanzania and Kenya, reducing transportation costs between these two markets and improving access to Kenya’s major port of Mombasa.  This road is more than asphalt; it will become a national and regional asset for greater economic productivity.

And, third, the rehabilitation plans create a link to vital community services.  This is the road that will move Tanzanians to schools, health clinics, and marketplaces.  It will connect the countryside with the city.  I learned of a coconut retailer, for example, who now leaves his home at six in the morning to make the difficult, hour-and-a-half journey by bicycle to Tanga.  For him—and for so many other entrepreneurs—the rehabilitation of this road will allow multiple trips to town with greater ease.

We are inaugurating more than just a road today.  This is, indeed, a highway to opportunity.  It reflects the highest standards of responsible resettlement, and will open new routes to commerce and community development.

Full implementation of this road project is the priority moving forward.  While I am counting on the professionalism of MCA-Tanzania to lead this important process, we must now work together as close partners.

MCC and Tanzania are partners in development, and our partnership will deliver on the full promise of the Tanga-Horohoro road.

I look forward to returning to Tanzania to drive on this completed road and to see for myself the start of a new chapter of opportunity.

Tutasonga mbele pamoja!  {Swahili for: “Let’s go forward together!”}

Thank you very much.