Partnering to build high-quality infrastructure

Close-up view of Mount Coffee Hydropower Plant (© Zoom Dosso/AFP/Getty Images)
A U.S. partnership with Liberia has renovated the Mount Coffee Hydropower Plant, seen in December 2016, and connected thousands to the country’s electric grid. (© Zoom Dosso/AFP/Getty Images)

Years after a civil war ended in 2003, Liberia still faced crumbling infrastructure. The country’s main power source, the Mount Coffee Hydropower Plant dam, was flooded and less than 5% of Liberians had access to electricity, one of the lowest rates in the world.

In 2016, Liberia and the Millennium Challenge Corporation, a U.S. government agency dedicated to growing economies, worked together with other donors to restore the power plant and its dam. The project trained technicians and service providers and created independent oversight of the country’s energy sector.

The $208 million Mount Coffee dam restoration and energy infrastructure project is an example of how U.S.-supported infrastructure projects adhere to high standards and improve people’s lives around the world. The dam project now produces 88 megawatts of power, more than doubling Liberia’s power generation capacity, and enables 85,000 homes to connect to Liberia’s electric grid. Electricity costs have dropped 30%, allowing businesses to invest in expanded services.

“Infrastructure is critical to driving a society’s productivity and prosperity,” President Biden said announcing the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment with G7 nations in June 2022. The partnership aims to mobilize $600 billion for sustainable, quality infrastructure in developing and middle-income countries by 2027.

Aerial view of Mount Coffee Hydropower Plant (MCC)
The U.S.-supported renovation of Liberia’s Mount Coffee Hydropower Plant has delivered electricity and lowered energy costs in Liberia. (MCC)

Since January 2021, the United States has announced nearly $1.2 billion dollars in new infrastructure investment in Africa through the MCC.

New infrastructure brings jobs, helps move goods to market and enables delivery of vital services, Biden said. But only when the projects are done right. That’s why the United States works to ensure projects meet high standards before the work even begins.

MCC’s country selection process considers nations’ commitment to democracy, economic freedom and public investment. It includes community input and incorporates reliable economic data, such as information from the World Bank. The MCC also tracks prospective countries’ eligibility information on publicly available scorecards to ensure a transparent and fair process.

MCC and its partners assess and mitigate a project’s labor, environmental and community impacts with social and environmental impact reports that are posted online. Third-party monitors seek to ensure projects follow international safety and efficiency standards.

While the Mount Coffee dam restoration has delivered results for the people of Liberia, Biden announced new MCC partnerships with four other nations at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in December 2022. The projects will bolster Senegal’s connections around the region, boost economic development in The Gambia and Togo, and strengthen democratic governance and economic policies to foster growth in Mauritania.

In October 2022, Kenya’s Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua and a Nairobi city official hailed a $60 million grant through the MCC that will improve transportation in Kenya’s capital city.

Nairobi Governor Sakaja Arthur Johnson said, “We warmly welcome this partnership and look forward to greater cooperation in years to come.”