MCC Concludes 5-year Compact with El Salvador
On October 9, Ambassador Mari Carmen Aponte joined President Funes,
representatives of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and
representatives of MCC’s Salvadoran implementing partner, FOMILENIO, to celebrate the successful completion of MCC’s five-year, $461 million compact with El Salvador.
Signed on November 29, 2006, El Salvador was the eleventh country
to complete a compact with the Millennium Challenge Corporation,
and the third in Latin America (after Honduras and Nicaragua). The
compact was designed to reduce poverty through strategic investments in agricultural production, rural business development, transportation infrastructure, education and public services.
MCC’s work in El Salvador focused on economic development in the
Northern Zone, where MCC financing has enabled Salvadorans to realize a long-held aspiration of opening up the Northern Zone to markets in neighboring countries and better integrating it with the rest of the country. Projects were divided into three main areas: Human Development, Productive Development and Road Connectivity.
The Human Development Project focused on improving basic social infrastructure. This included facilitating the supply of potable water to 6,649 houses via 22 new wells and the installation of 278 kilometers of pipes, which have together helped to reduce costs and diseases. 1,435 kilometers of electric lines and 1,950 photovoltaic systems have likewise helped to improve living conditions by adding electricity to 25,992 homes where previously there was no electric access. And in the area of education, 77,753 students benefited from new educational infrastructure projects, including 22 new institutions and more than 4,000 scholarships, while 566 teachers received training in new teaching techniques in order to train an additional 11,856 people. Of those, 2,490 are working and 60% are women.
In the area of Productive Development, the compact strengthened
production in a variety of sectors, including fruit, vegetable, dairy, forestry, handicraft and tourism. More than 17,000 small farmers and other producers working on approximately 23,566 hectares received training, seeds, equipment and technical assistance to increase production of short-season vegetables and fruits, and improve pasture lands. Through such programs, the compact helped 75% of the producers in the Northern Zone to reduce the costs associated with implementing new crop techniques, allowing them to generate $94.3 million in cumulative sales.
The main focus of the Road Connectivity area, and a major hallmark of the El Salvador compact, was the construction of the new Northern Highway, a new two-lane, 223 kilometer highway stretching from the city of Metapan (Santa Ana) in the west to Anamoros (La Union) in the east, approximately the distance between Washington and Philadelphia. The highway has reduced travel time by 50 percent – from 12 hours to six hours – and facilitated communication, transportation costs, and access to health and education centers for inhabitants of the Northern Zone.
After five years, the MCC/FOMILENIO project has benefitted 600,000
habitants in 94 municipalities across the country, raising income levels and quality of life for years to come.