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Under the first phase, roads were built, villages were electrified and water was supplied to two major cities, Morogoro and the Tanzanian capital, Dar es Salaam.

In the second phase, Mr. Kikwete wants to keep the focus on rural electrification and water supply.

“We have expressed the wish, and they have expressed readiness to talk, so let’s see what comes out of the discussions,” he said.

“We are seeing the American side be responsive,” he added.

Daniel Yohannes, CEO of the Millennium Challenge Corp. (MCC), has high praise for the way Tanzania handled the first phase of this grant.

“President Kikwete has been instrumental to the success of Tanzania’s MCC compact,” Mr. Yohannes said at the Center for Strategic and International Studies last week.

Despite such praise, Mr. Kikwete knows that the state of the global economy will determine how much money international donors will be willing to offer.

“We accept the reality that we will not get much, and already aid has declined, but we think we may not lose everything,” he said. “We don’t see signs on the part of the U.S. government to abandon the poor.”

Mr. Obama has said the U.S. will keep its commitments to end world hunger.

Tanzania has reason to be optimistic about its future: Large reserves of oil and natural gas were discovered recently.

Mr. Kikwete is determined not to let this potential resource windfall become a liability, as it has done for many other African nations.

“We know in … a number of countries in Africa, these resources … have turned into a curse instead of being something useful,” he said.

“We will try as much as we can to learn from what has gone wrong with some of our friends, and let’s see if we can do better,” he said. “I am hopeful that we will.”