Power politics delays MCC in Nepal


The MCC was set up in 2004 by the US Congress during the George W Bush presidency to help developing nations reduce poverty through financial aid. Since then, as Sino-US tensions grew it has taken on a strategic dimension as the two powers compete for global connectivity. The $500 million MCC grant to Nepal was sanctioned in 2017 to improve Nepal’s energy and road infrastructure. 

Nepal was suffering 18 hours of power cuts a day when the agreement was signed, and after much deliberation, Nepal’s planners, politicians and bureaucrats decided that transmission lines were the most urgently needed since powerplants were already under construction. The generated electricity need to be taken to load centres, this would increase the renewable component of Nepal’s energy mix by replacing imported petroleum, and finally, to export any surplus to India. 

Meanwhile, the Millennium Challenge Authority Nepal (MCA-Nepal) has been set up and the office…

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