Millennium Challenge Compact Closes in Liberia

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President Weah speaks at the closing program of Millennium Challenge Compact-Liberia, Harrisburg, rural Montserrado County, Liberia.

The US-sponsored Millennium Challenge Compact (MCC) that restored electricity in post-conflict Liberia has finally closed after five years of operation in line with its mandate.

The compact was being administered by the Millennium Challenge Account established by the Legislature on October 23, 2015.  The MCC invested US$257 million in energy and road projects, which yielded the rebuilding of the Mount Coffee Dam that was destroyed during the civil war.

The Millennium Challenge Compact is a five-year project initiated by the US Government with support from other countries including Germany, Norway and the European Investment Bank, to help poor countries alleviate poverty.

At the closing ceremony in Harrisburg on April 28, 2021, President George Weah in a statement acknowledged donors for their support to Liberia’s post-war development projects, especially electricity which, he said, is cardinal to the country’s industrial development.

He also acknowledged the roles of his predecessor, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and his Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor, for their respective roles that led to the ratification of the Compact in 2015 that brought the project to fruition.

The President emphasized that his administration is going to exert all efforts to sustain the project as the challenge is thrown to the Liberian people to sustain what the foreign partners have provided.

“We have always paid LEC’s bill and, in spite of the Coronavirus pandemic that hit the world including Liberia last year, we settled our bill with LEC in the tone of US$9 million.  We have also decided to purchase meters and transformers to supply electricity to all communities in Monrovia and its environs, and I hope that this will help as the story about power theft is from this transformer business,” President Weah said.

The President also informed users of electricity to be mindful not to get in conflict with the law because the National Legislature has enacted a law against power theft, making it now a criminal offense.

President Weah’s statement followed remarks by US Ambassador to Liberia, Michael McCarthy, who challenged the Liberian government to take steps to sustain the project by discouraging power theft and investing in the Liberian people to feel the presence of electricity in their own land and not continue to suffer as the case would be.

Several communities in Monrovia are without electricity due to either lack of transformers or the failure of the Liberia Electricity Corporation to extend power there.  For instance, since the 72nd Community and others along the SKD boulevard began experiencing darkness last September due to transformer failure, there has been no restoration of electricity despite several attempts by the community members to stage protests to draw the attention of LEC and the government to their plight.

Providing an overview of the project, the Chief Executive Officer of the Millennium Challenge Account-Liberia, Monie R. Captan, acknowledged the contributions of the US Government and other partners who funded the project and made the implementation possible. 

Mr. Monie Captan, CEO, MCA-Liberia

According to Mr. Captan, the project objectives are to reduce poverty and stimulate growth by alleviating binding constraints to growth, thereby encouraging economic growth leading to employment and income generation and subsequently contributing to poverty reduction.

On the electricity project, Mr. Captan recalled that, “Funding for the Mt. Coffee hydroelectric plant, the Compact covered 40 percent of the project cost, while the governments of Norway, Germany through its development bank KfW and the European Investment Bank, covered the remaining cost of the project.  Additionally, the compact provided extended funding support for the operations, maintenance, and training of contractors for the hydro.”

He further mentioned the construction of the 5km Raw Water Pipeline; development and implementation of a training program for 500 LEC employees; rehabilitation and equipping of the LEC Customer Service Center as some of the activities the project targeted and implemented during the five-year period.  Additionally, management support to LEC through the funding of a management services agreement and provision of materials to improve LEC’s electricity distribution, including specialized vehicles, poles, conductors, transformers, meters, tools, PPEs and spare parts with IT equipment and software are among the targeted areas supported with funds from the compact.

The project, according to Captan, also funded support for the establishment of the Liberian Electricity Regulatory Commission, through budget funding for 3 years covering salaries, office space, vehicles, furniture, IT and office equipment, management information system, training, and regulatory studies.

“In addition to these projects, MCA-L has implemented several Resettlement Action Plans and small infrastructure projects for Project Affected Communities.  MCAL has also implemented a robust monitoring and evaluation plan, which provides important data on measurable indicators of the various projects,” Captan said.

He said since the project has improved the Liberian people’s access rate from 4 percent to 12 percent, with over 82,000 customers connected, and tariffs reduced from 57 cents to 35 cents per kilowatt-hour with the commissioning of the Mount Coffee Hydro.

Some United States Ambassadors and Congressmen, through a video link, also extended congratulations to Liberia for the electricity project under the Millennium Challenge Compact and expressed optimism that there are more in the pipeline to come because Liberia is a partner to the United States as history records.

Ambassador Linda Thomas Greenfield in a video message expressed her delight that Liberia has finally received what it had previously found difficulty getting.  During her tenure as Ambassador to Liberia, Madam Greenfield recalled that she could see children studying under streetlights because they did not have electricity in their homes.  “But now we can say that these children will no longer study under streetlights in the open space because their parents can now afford electricity in their homes,” said Ambassador Greenfield.

Others, including Senator Chris Coon and Congressman David Price, recalled participating in discussions and the Act leading to the establishment of the Millennium Challenge Compact and expressed happiness that Liberia, being a true partner to the United States with a strong historical tie, can benefit from the project to have electricity for its citizens.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Sad indeed!

    The Millennium Challenge Compact, a US Government aid agency, rhymes with good governance and rule of law.
    Liberia has not been entirely electrified, our roads are not yet built, our educational system is still in the shambles, yet the MCC is bidding us farewell, think Liberians!
    The MCC is still in Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, etc. Why are they closing in Liberia?

    It’s very difficult to get these organizations into a country. When you vote a regime that will make them pack, it becomes painful for the suffering children of such country. We made our choice, Liberians, and we will assume it.
    You guys think the MCC will come telling us, “oh because you voted incompetent and corrupt people, we can’t work with them. We are going because of that, NO! They will diplomatically deal with the situation.
    They saw Weah getting into their accounts and taking their money to spend on other things, diverting some of their projects, creating political tensions, footing on basic human rights, being indulged in glaring human rights violations.

    They are closing. When can we get them back? Such negotiation may take years again, and Liberia will bear the brunt.

    God, forgive Liberians and cleanse us of our iniquities, in Jesus’ name I pray, Amen!

    • This is not about president weah getting into their account and taking money, when you and your people continue to steal current and damage the transformer of LEC.do not be complacent on every issues because that will not help others people that you are trying to educate.let God forgive you and clean your stupidity.

      • Patrick Sargbeh, another CDCian, stop “causing” me for nothing brother. This thing, we are all in it, and we will smell it to the end. That’s what we call “democracy”.
        Who told you people don’t steal electricity in Ghana or Cote d’Ivoire? I will invite you to read the Webmaster Admin’s post of today, react to what has been written: Stop the invectives! You guys should sit and begin to think of how you can improve your own lives before the rest of the Liberians.
        Use your time wisely to help your party or people instead of creating more problems for yourselves.

  2. The facts stand out like the horns of a bull, many Liberians have cultivated the wrong values over the years when one factors in the love for country, a weak and corrupt leadership, and a reckless disregard for public resources, transparency and accountability.

    Nevertheless, leadership by example has to be accorded with some guiding principles in the way we act as adults and citizens as our behavior often impact the molding of the minds of the youths, who will in turn become the leaders of tomorrow and therefore repeat a vicious cycle.

    For example: How can Liberia be one of the poorest countries in the world, and, yet her legislators make more than many of the legislators of the industrialized world?

    Next, the president never seems to identify funds within the budget to undertake the most urgent projects critical for national growth, and, yet he would find the money instantly to globe-trot and attend every inaugural ceremony that goes on around the world. No project or emergency at home takes precedence above his hedonistic pursuits!

    Yet, another example: While COVID-19 is ravaging and devastating the lives of citizens in the most advanced societies the president, who should be in the forefront encouraging our citizens to take maximum precaution to stop the spreading of the scourge, sends mixed messages everyday by publicly appearing in meetings and conferences “unmasked”. I need to refer him, if he has not already understood, according to reports, the ravages of COVID are still around and predictions are they might bring an industrial power like India down because of the same reckless underestimation of the high propensities for the disease to wreak the greatest harm! What is Weah depending on?

    Many of our citizens are conducting themselves in ways that militate against their own interest and the national interest as a whole; however, from whom are they copying such behavior? Their behavior is a reflection of the kinds of values they see exhibited by the leadership of the country!

  3. It is so sad, embarrassing, and laughable that one would just gallop into a paroxysm of nihilism on even elementary matters they have absolutely no essential idea or knowledge about.

    Now, listen up and assimilate this education infra! The type of MCC GRANT which has been in Liberia DID NOT COME TO STAY ETERNALLY!

    “MCC grants are devised to balance or supplement other U.S. and international development programs, as well as invent an empowering environment for private sector investment. There are three primary types of MCC grants:

    COMPACTS….large, five-year grants for selected countries that meet MCC’s eligibility criteria. LIBERIA MET MCC’s eligibility, hence MCC came to Liberia.

    CONCURRENT COMPACTS FOR REGIONAL INVESTMENTS…grants that promote cross-border economic integration, and increase regional trade and collaboration

    TRESHOLD PROGRAMS…smaller grants focused on policy and institutional reform in selected countries that come close to passing MCC’s eligibility criteria and show a firm commitment to improving their policy performance.“

    And even if one has not had the opportunity to get familiar with the modus vivendi and or modus operandi of the MCC, THE LEAD of this very Liberianobserver news story is both explanatory and instructive….“The US-sponsored Millennium Challenge Compact (MCC) that restored electricity in post-conflict Liberia has finally closed after five years of operation in line with its mandate.“ “IN LINE WITH ITS MANDATE“!!!! FOR THE ANGELS IN HEAVEN SAKE, IF NOT EVEN FOR GOD IN HEAVEN SAKE!!! MY GOD!!!

    • Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha !
      It is not about the length of time, although it is embarrassing that every year, the regime failed to meet the benchmark. Five years too long to be failing every class.
      It is not about the years, IT IS ABOUT THE REPORT CARD !
      Ten years and failing the same grade, what that says, the length or what the report card says.
      FAILED !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha !

  4. “He who knows not and knows NOT that he knows not is a fool, shun him”, Confucius.

    Verbosity with neither structural essence nor ideological relevance may sometimes not only be described as functional illiteracy but pathological myopia.
    As much as we may be slow-witted in our sycophancy, I pray that we may sometimes learn to read the signs of nature to comprehend some societal fundamentals.

    God forgive Liberia for our wrongs, Amen!

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