Posted on December 12, 2008 by Ambassador John Danilovich, Chief Executive Officer
Yesterday, I participated in my last Board of Directors meeting as Chief Executive Officer of MCC. The MCC Board, comprised of both government officials and private sector members, reached important decisions that are core to MCCs model and mission to reduce poverty through sustainable economic growth.
I invite you to read about the countries the Board selected as now eligible to apply for an MCC compact (Colombia, Indonesia, and Zambia) or threshold program (Liberia). True to MCCs innovative approach to development assistance, it is now up to these newly-selected countries to consult with their citizens, prioritize their development goals, and work toward developing their compact or threshold proposal to generate the opportunity and growth essential for reducing poverty. The Board also made an important decision regarding our partnership with Nicaragua. These types of decisions are ones that MCCs Board takes very seriously and only after close consultation and intense deliberation. You can read more about the Boards decision regarding future collaboration with Nicaragua, and other concerns voiced during yesterdays meeting, on our website, www.mcc.gov.
It has been an enormous privilege to work with such an outstanding Board of Directors, whose sage advice and reasoned decisions have served MCC extraordinarily well in realizing our impressive $6.7 billion portfolio of compacts in 18 countries and threshold programs in 19 countries. These grants are training farmers, registering property rights, building roads, educating and immunizing children, and supporting business development. The transition to the next administration means that a new slate of public servants will replace Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, United States Trade Representative Susan Schwab, and USAID Administrator Henrietta Fore. The new appointees will join the four private sector members who will continue serving on the BoardLorne Craner, Bill Frist, Ken Hackett, and Alan Patricof. The ongoing leadership of these private sector Board members ensures continuity and provides valuable institutional memory that will be of tremendous benefit to MCC moving forward. The participation of these private sector Board members is one of the most unique elements of MCCs management, reaffirming that the fight against poverty involves not just the resources of government but also the ingenuity and innovation of civil society and private enterprise.
Years end is always a time of reflection, a time to ponder the milestones achieved and the goals still ahead. While we have made measurable strides in reducing poverty through MCCs partnerships, there is still more to do. The year ahead marks an exciting new chapter in MCCs history. Our partnerships and programs will continue. Implementation progress will continue to multiply as more projects come to fruition. Our way of awarding development assistance will continue to draw interest and attention as discussions intensify about the future architecture of foreign aid. Poll results released yesterday through the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network confirm that 70 percent of engaged opinion elites favor reforms to improve the effectiveness of foreign aid by shifting aid dollars from less effective programs to programs that help hungry and poor people in developing countries provide for their families. More than eight in ten favor cutting federal programs that dont work and making those that do more efficient. They make the case for modernizing foreign assistance by stressing strategy, efficiency, and accountability. These are the principles we stand by here at MCC.
With change upon us, the permanence of MCCs principles equip us well to make further progress in the fight against global poverty in 2009 and beyond. My hope for you and yours this holiday season is the same one I have for those benefitting from MCC programs in partners countries worldwide: peace, health, prosperity. Happy holidays and best wishes for the New Year.
Posted on December 5, 2008 by Ambassador John Danilovich, Chief Executive Officer
The holiday season is a particularly poignant time to reflect on the needs of those around the world who are less fortunate than ourselves. We are responsive to the struggle and sacrifice confronting millions of families worldwide who are living in poverty. Their incredible burdens are also the most basic of human needs-how to access shelter, food, health services, education, and jobs. MCC is making a difference in this fight against systemic, entrenched poverty. And, we are enhancing our efforts by partnering with organizations that share our core belief that generating sustainable prosperity, development, and growth can improve the lives of the poor.
MCC’s MOU with the World Food Program
Today, I joined Josette Sheeran, my good friend and a champion for the poor who serves as the World Food Program’s (WFP) Executive Director, to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the WFP and MCC that creates a framework for coordinating our investments to significantly leverage our mutual impact on global economic growth, poverty reduction, and improved food security. The MoU outlines three areas of cooperation in countries where both the WFP and MCC work: agricultural production, policy and program reforms, and gender integration. These are all important components for strengthening local markets and achieving food security.
Building on MCC’s existing partnership with the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), MCC and the WFP will initially work in countries where MCC is already collaborating with AGRA. The cooperation between MCC and AGRA is bearing fruit and setting a precedent for results. In Madagascar, for example, AGRA is considering an investment of over $500,000 to MCC-funded agricultural business centers to set up farmer-based seed multiplication sites for improved varieties of rice, corn, and beans.
MoUs like these-with AGRA and now with the WFP-demonstrate MCC’s commitment to augmenting U.S. taxpayer money with additional initiatives. This approach prevents duplication of efforts, enhances the impact of each project activity, and helps our partners attract investments in long-term growth. Particularly in a time of severe financial constraints, this is a smart and strategic approach that ensures that every dollar counts.
MCC’s Partnerships throughout Latin America
What’s equally smart and strategic is the power of effective partnerships to fight poverty in the Americas. With nearly $1 billion committed to compacts and threshold programs in the Americas, MCC is proof of positive and constructive U.S. engagement throughout the Western Hemisphere.
I was reminded of this just yesterday when I welcomed Bharrat Jagdeo, the President of Guyana, to MCC to discuss progress on Guyana’s nearly $7 million MCC threshold program, which is aimed at overhauling fiscal policies, creating a more business-friendly environment, and streamlining business registration. Guyana’s progress is proof of the deep resolve in the Americas to replace poverty with prosperity, and we are proud of our role in helping our partners achieve their self-determined, country-driven antipoverty plans.
Last night, I attended an event hosted by the Council of the Americas where I spoke about the “good news” of MCC’s approach to development assistance and what it is accomplishing in the hemisphere-students attending vocational training, thousands of families receiving land titles, farmers benefitting from training to increase their agricultural productivity, jobs being created, and key infrastructure being developed. The slideshow of MCC’s work in Latin America provides an overview of the strength of our partnerships to transcend the often empty rhetoric of politics to deliver the tangible reality of positive, meaningful change for the poor.
MCC’s partnerships-whether with other donors or with partner countries-is how the fight against poverty will be won. Through mutual accountability and a mutual investment of resources, expertise, and resolve, we see this underway already. The time to further build on this progress is now.