New York — PRESIDENT Jakaya Kikwete has assured the US government that Tanzania will observe financial prudence in the implementation of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Compact II programme, to enable the country reap maximum benefit.
Speaking during an MCC Roundtable on Africa's Economic Transition here on Friday, Mr Kikwete said Tanzania was committed to the ongoing process to develop Compact II which he believes will boost the country's socio-economic development and improve the lives of people.
The president mentioned rural roads and energy as the country's areas of concentration.
"These two areas are the key to the development of rural areas where the majority of our population live. We believe this will have significant impact on our efforts to eradicate poverty, which is rampant amongst rural population," he said.
He thanked the US government and the American people for the support extended under MCC I which he said had made a huge difference in the lives of the people of Tanzania.
"We greatly appreciate the support and we shall remain grateful as infrastructure projects in the road, airport, energy and water sectors financed by the 698 million US dollars MCC grant has highly improved people's lives...the economy has benefited immensely," he said.
He said through the funds, Tanzania will get 472.9km of tarmac roads on both the mainland and Zanzibar while the Mafia airport will be rehabilitated and upgraded. The water infrastructure in Dar es Salaam and Morogoro will be rehabilitated and expanded. The president said besides improving the living conditions of people living in areas where the projects are implemented, the projects have benefited the economy in a very big way as they have opened up key economic areas for expansion.
Other projects implemented include the laying of submarine electrical cable bringing electricity to Zanzibar from Tanzania mainland and electricity transmission and distribution in 10 regions covering 35 villages in 24 districts.
"These areas are now ripe for investment from elsewhere," said the president inviting US investors to take advantage of the huge and unique opportunities invarious sectors including energy, agriculture and agri-business, mining,infrastructure manufacturing and fishing.
Mr Kikwete said the Namtambo-Songea-Mbinga Road, for example, opens up an important region for corn, coffee and cashew nut production on top of vast mineral resources such as uranium, gemstones and gold.
Likewise, the Tunduma-Sumbawanga Road opens up a large corn and tobacco growing belt and gold, copper and gemstones while the Mafia airport project unveils the huge tourism potential of the island renown for scuba diving due to its clear waters and rich marine life which includes the dinosaur fish. Mafia Island is also near the discovered fish fields and ongoing exploration.
The president further said that rural electrification projects open up areas for investments both big and small.
"In those areas small industries can be established and high profile investors can be attracted with the availability of electricity.
He told the gathering that the private sector was fully involved in the implementation of MCC supported projects encouraging more US companies to invest in various areas of the economy.
Mr Kikwete said Africa as a continent was at a very important juncture where Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) has surpassed Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) stressing the need for the trend to be sustained.
The roundtable meeting was attended by President Armando Guebuza of Mozambique, the Premier of Lesotho, Dr Motsoahae Thomas Thabane and the Head of the government of Morocco, Mr Abdelilah Benkirane.
They also reflected on MCC Compact I and showcased investment opportunities in their respective countries.