March 4, 2016
The U.S. Government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Regional Deputy Vice President for Compact Operations Fatema Sumar visited Nepal this week to advance development of an MCC compact with the Government of Nepal.
In meetings with key government officials – including Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Physical Infrastructure and Transport Bijay Kumar Gachhadar, Finance Minister Bishnu Paudel, and Secretary of Minsitry of Energy Suman Prasad Sharma – the Government of Nepal and MCC agreed to explore investments in the power and transport sectors. During her visit, Sumar also met with members of Nepal’s civil society and business community.
During the coming year, MCC will conduct a comprehensive appraisal of specific project options within the power and transport sectors. In the power sector, proposed projects focus on improving delivery of electricity by reducing transmission bottlenecks and improving other segments of the power sector value chain. In the transport sector, proposed projects focus on a combination of road maintenance, rehabilitation, and critical upgrades. MCC will work with the Government of Nepal, through the Office of Millennium Challenge Nepal, to determine which sectors and projects to ultimately pursue based on the outcome of MCC’s feasibility studies and appraisal.
The size of MCC’s compact with Nepal has not been finalized. The size will be determined by the projects that meet MCC’s investment criteria and the availability of funds. Compact programs and funding amounts are finalized only after full analysis of proposed projects and approval by MCC’s Board of Directors.
Speaking about MCC’s commitment to work with the Government of Nepal to create an environment for the proposed investments to succeed, Sumar said, “This is an opportunity that very few countries get and Nepal should be very proud of that. This is 100% grant assistance. No loans, no lines of credit, no concessional lending. This is U.S. taxpayer grant assistance which rewards countries that follow principles of good governance, economic freedom and investment in people.”
Nepal was selected by MCC’s Board of Directors as eligible for a compact in December 2014. MCC is an innovative and independent U.S. foreign aid agency that is helping to lead the fight against poverty through economic growth. Created by the U.S. Congress in 2004, MCC provides time-limited grants and assistance to countries with a focus on good policies, country ownership, and results.