By Desie Heita WINDHOEK Namibia has finally received US$304.5 million equivalent to N$2.32 billion from the Millennium Challenge Account earmarked for rural farming, tourism, education and training. Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) is a United States government corporation designed to work with some of the poorest countries in the world. The aim is to reduce global poverty through the promotion of sustainable economic growth. In the initial draft proposal to the US's MCC, the Namibia's Millennium Challenge Account team had identified livestock, tourism, cash crops, aquaculture, human resources development, indigenous fruits and plants, as areas that need boosting. The areas were later trimmed down to five components of education, tourism, livestock, indigenous and natural products and roads. For the next five years, the funds would go towards the increase in income and creation of employment opportunities through strategic investment in the ecotourism sector and the Etosha National Park. It would further "enhance the economic performance of the agricultural sector by supporting the construction of up to five veterinary centres in high volume, under-served livestock areas, introducing effective community-based rangeland management practices and advancing the business capacity of the Namibian indigenous natural products industry." The money would also go towards the improvement of infrastructure and equipment in educational facilities, construction of study and resource centres and acquisition of textbooks for Grade 5 through to Grade 12. Before its proposal to the MCC, the Namibian MCA team consulted in all 13 regions of the country and received a matrix of 77 issues representing the interests of all the regions. The formal agreement between the governments of Namibia and the US would be signed in two weeks' time. "MCC congratulates the people and Government of Namibia for developing this innovative programme that emphasises the importance of education and training in poverty reduction," said MCC Chief Executive Officer, Ambassador John Danilovich. "This compact deepens Namibia's ongoing commitment to promoting economic prosperity and the success of its own people. We congratulate the Namibians for their great efforts in creating this compact and we welcome working with them toward achieving the compact goals," said Ambassador Danilovich. Since its inception in 2004, the MCC has approved over US$6.2 billion to 17 countries. These are Madagascar, Cape Verde, Honduras, Nicaragua, Georgia, Armenia, Vanuatu, Benin, Ghana, Mali, El Salvador, Mozambique, Lesotho, Morocco, Mongolia, Tanzania, and Burkina Faso.
2008-07-17 00:00:00 10 years ago