21 Nov 2005

US aid deal to boost Vanuatu rural development

4:42 pm on 21 November 2005

Vanuatu has finalised negotiations with the United States Millennium Challenge Corporation for the biggest aid programme it has had with a single country

The Director-General of Vanuatu's Prime Minister's office, Jean Sese, has just returned from negotiations with the MCC held over the past week in Sydney for a five-year agreement from 2006.

This clears the way for millions of dollars in aid and the first ever Compact Agreement between the two countries.

While he wouldn't give a figure on the MCC fund deal, Mr Sese says the MCC fund will significantly boost rural infrastructure development, with improvements to roads, wharves and other facilities in remote areas.

"It's going to be a significant programme for Vanuatu which brings capacity for Vanuatu to manage the programme effectively. It's going to be a challenge for Vanuatu but a challenge that we have discussed fully with the MCC and implemented in government with other stakeholders."

Jean Sese says the agreement must now be endorsed by the Vanuatu parliament, the US Congress and the board of the state-owned Millennium Challenge Corporation.