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US approves $550 mln aid to boost Senegal electricity

Washington, United States | AFP | The United States on Wednesday announced $550 million in assistance to Senegal to help the fast-growing country meet rising demand for electricity

The Millennium Challenge Cooperation, a US government body created in 2004 that awards grants to countries that commit to good governance and democracy, said that Senegal would contribute its own $50 million to the project.

Over five years, the so-called Senegal Power Compact will work to modernize the high-voltage transmission network in the capital Dakar, reinforce the grid to bring more electricity to rural areas and support the writing of a stronger legal framework to oversee how electricity is distributed.

“This compact is designed to catalyze private sector investment, spur economic growth and reduce poverty by improving Senegal’s power sector, reducing costs and expanding access to electricity for residents and businesses,” Jonathan Nash, the Millennium Challenge Cooperation’s chief operating officer, said in a statement.

With seven percent annual growth, Senegal has one of the fastest-expanding economies in Africa.

While President Donald Trump has vowed to slash US foreign aid, the Millennium Challenge Cooperation, created under president George W. Bush, enjoys broad bipartisan support in Washington in part for its insistence that recipients pursue free-market principles.

A previous $540-million package for Senegal approved in 2009 to boost agricultural productivity briefly drew controversy in Dakar, with then president Abdoulaye Wade saying he was insulted by the presumption that all recipient countries faced corruption problems.

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