An Amendment in Georgia, A Memorandum of Understanding in France:Advancing the Shared Fight Against Poverty
Posted on November 24, 2008 by Ambassador John Danilovich, Chief Executive Officer
A great achievement in Georgia
It is no secret that Georgians, and particularly Georgia’s poor, have confronted considerable conflict and economic uncertainty during the past few months. Yet, even in the face of this, the country’s resolve to address systemic poverty has not been deterred or diminished. Progress continues on Georgia’s MCC compact, which is primarily focused on rehabilitating infrastructure for transportation, energy, and municipal water services. These infrastructure improvements are creating jobs, facilitating access to markets, boosting trade links, improving travel time, reducing vehicle operating costs, providing communities with a constant supply of potable water, and delivering heat to homes and businesses.
I traveled to Georgia last week and heard from Georgians firsthand about their daunting situation. Despite the difficult times, I also sensed the strong resolve of our Georgian partners to replace poverty with prosperity, and uncertainty with economic stability.
While in Tbilisi, I joined Prime Minister Grigol Mgaloblishvili to sign an amendment to Georgia’s MCC compact that increases MCC’s development assistance under the compact by $100 million, bringing the total to $395 million. This additional funding will be used to complete projects relating to roads, regional infrastructure development, and energy activities. The majority of these projects were part of Georgia’s original concept for its compact, which can now be included and realized with this additional funding. Georgians, who themselves outlined and advocated for these projects as important in reducing poverty and stimulating growth, will build on the compact progress already evident and will use these funds to pave additional roads, build wastewater networks, and make more headway on their country’s national energy strategy. Projects like these will go a long way toward boosting investor confidence in Georgia, contributing to economic stability, and promoting economic growth that will improve the lives of millions of Georgians living in poverty. I invite the public to learn more about this amendment to the U.S. Government’s poverty reduction compact with Georgia through MCC’s web site, where the full set of documentation (including Congressional Notifications, Fact Sheets, Country Status Reports, and other information) is available.
In Paris with Agence Française de Développement
The fight against global poverty requires as many partners as possible. No nation, or donor organization, can shoulder or effectively tackle this problem alone. That’s why en route to Tbilisi, I met in Paris with my counterpart in the French government to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Agence Française de Développement (AFD). The French share America’s commitment to eradicating global poverty, and this MOU memorializes the intent to deepen in-country cooperation between our two development agencies in sectors such as microfinance, land tenure, legal and judicial reform, transportation infrastructure, and agriculture in countries where we are both working. Especially in places such as Africa, this enhanced cooperation will make our poverty reduction efforts more effective. We had an early example of this cooperation last month when MCC and AFD co-sponsored a workshop for African countries to share lessons learned regarding land policy.
Results-oriented partnerships between MCC and partner countries like Georgia and between MCC and other donors like AFD will lead to improvements in the lives of the world’s poor in ways that matter for their long-term prosperity.
Posted on November 18, 2008 by Ambassador John Danilovich, Chief Executive Officer
We have so much to learn from schoolchildren. Their curiosity and imagination have never ceased to intrigue and impress me during my service as U.S. Ambassador and, more recently, as Millennium Challenge Corporation CEO. One of the most gratifying aspects of this job has been the chance to talk with young people in some of the 35 countries where we are partnering to reduce poverty. My visit to Ghana late last month was a particularly poignant reminder of the huge investment that the United States is making in education around the world.
Education is a major driver of economic growth, which is at the heart of a sound antipoverty strategy. Last month in Ghana, I participated in the commissioning ceremony for one of the hundreds of schools that will be renovated or built through Ghana’s $547 million MCC compact. In the joy of the children and the enthusiasm of the teachers, we can already see how our investments in education are making a difference. Investing in education enhances future earnings and employment opportunities for students, while contributing to overall economic growth and poverty reduction. In addition to Ghana, MCC grants support educational programs in Burkina Faso, El Salvador, Mongolia, Morocco, Niger, and Namibia.
I was also in Ghana to preside over the groundbreaking of a major road project, together with President Kufuor. Funded through Ghana’s MCC compact, the rehabilitation of this critical transportation route from the capital of Accra to the port of Tema will help farmers get their products to the marketplace in a quicker, more cost-efficient manner. Having pineapples or mangos, for example, sit on the back of a lorry for three hours on their way to markets wastes time and fuel and shortens the fruit’s shelf-life. This new roadway will transform Ghana’s agriculture sector and help fuel sustainable economic growth. I am proud of these tangible results unfolding in our partner countries worldwide. Investments in infrastructure are essential to the very real needs for development our partners themselves have identified as vital for long-term growth and prosperity.
Our partners also consistently identify secure and efficient access to land as critical for sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction. We have seen our partners invest their MCC grants in ways to promote improved legal frameworks, more client service-oriented property registries, and formal recording of land rights in selected communities. To further discuss the importance of secure land tenure for the poor, I welcomed Ron Terwilliger, Chairman of the Board for Habitat for Humanity International, to MCC last Thursday for a standing-room only event to delve into the ““housing crisis that no one is talking about”“-the issue of secure land tenure for the world’s poor.
Investments in education, infrastructure, and land tenure are making a difference in ways that matter to the poor. MCC looks forward to advancing this progress under the Obama-Biden administration. We encourage the new administration and congressional representatives, from both parties, to continue the fight to end global poverty through sustainable and results-based programs like MCC. Given today’s global economic concerns, we recognize the increased importance of investing every dollar of taxpayers’ money wisely when it comes to foreign aid. MCC remains committed to making smart and innovative investments in countries that are focusing on positive policy reform and delivering tangible results in the fight against poverty.
In the end, fighting global poverty is about good policies, not politics. It is a fight based on partnership. Our partners know this; and we know this. MCC’s effective, results-driven collaboration with partner countries to replace poverty with prosperity is something we can all be proud of as Americans and as responsible and concerned citizens of an increasingly connected world.