Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin applauded Mozambique's President Nyusi for a "partnership to counter violent extremist groups in northern Mozambique," and for working with SADC.
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin before embarking on a tour of Djibouti, Kenya, and Angola, met with Mozambique's President Filipe Nyusi to recognize his efforts in promoting women's roles in security. The meeting took place at the Pentagon following the 78th UN General Assembly.
Mr Austin also praised President Nyusi for his pivotal role in the signing of the 2019 Maputo Accord for Peace and National Reconciliation, which contributed significantly to ending years of conflict in Mozambique.
"We're aligning diplomacy, development and defence to get after the forces that fuel instability and insecurity," Mr Austin said.
"We're deeply grateful for your partnership to counter violent extremist groups in northern Mozambique and your cooperation with the Southern Africa Development Community [SADC], the European Union and others," he said, adding that he hopes to deepen military training between the two nations.
Additionally, he congratulated President Nyusi for signing a new compact with the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), amounting to $500 million, supplemented by $37.5 million from the Government of Mozambique. This five-year partnership aims to develop infrastructure in Mozambique's Zambezia Province, including a vital 1.1-mile bridge across the Licungo River, crucial for economic connectivity between the country's north and south.
"In regard to this historic funding, it is our duty to ensure accountability and adherence to good practices in the management of the involved public goods, thus consolidating trust and good moment of the relationship between Mozambique and the United States of America. Therefore, we will keep up the standards in respecting the sacrifice of the taxpayers of both countries," said Mr Nyusi.
President Nyusi expressed gratitude for the support from Secretary Austin, President Joe Biden, and Congress across various sectors, including the economy, healthcare, and security. He reaffirmed Mozambique's commitment to combat terrorism and improve maritime domain awareness, extending an invitation for military-to-military training with the United States. He also welcomed US Navy vessels to make port visits to Mozambique.
The newly established Mozambique Connectivity and Coastal Resilience Compact is anticipated to bring about positive changes in the lives of 57 million Mozambicans by fostering sustainable and inclusive economic growth. Management of the allocated funds will be overseen by the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) Mozambique office, a body comprising representatives from the Mozambique government, civil society, and the private sector.
This comprehensive compact comprises three distinct projects. First, the Connectivity and Rural Transport Project (CTR) will focus on enhancing the quality and climate resilience of major transportation routes in Zambezia. This effort involves the improvement of roads and bridges and addressing deferred maintenance, notably the crucial Mocuba Bridge.
Second, the Promoting Reform and Investment in Agriculture Project (PRIA) aims to uplift the incomes of smallholder farmers and other stakeholders within the agricultural value chain. The project seeks to increase investments in the agriculture sector while promoting fiscal reforms and incentives related to agriculture.
Lastly, the Coastal Livelihoods and Climate Resilience Project (CLCR) aims to bolster ecosystem productivity by addressing long-standing issues linked to ecosystem degradation and fishery loss along the coastline.
The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), an autonomous US government agency, is responsible for reducing global poverty through economic growth initiatives. Established in 2004, MCC provides time-limited grants and support to countries that meet stringent criteria related to good governance, anti-corruption efforts, and adherence to democratic principles.
Pearl Matibe is a Washington, DC-based White House Correspondent, and media commentator with expertise in U.S. foreign policy and international security. You may follow her on Twitter: @PearlMatibe