Press Release

For Immediate Release

February 22, 2006

Contact: 202-521-3850

Email: info@mcc.gov

Millennium Challenge Corporation Signs Compact with Benin

Washington, D.C. Today, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) signed a five-year approximately $307 million Compact with the Government of the Republic of Benin. The Program is expected to benefit up to 5 million Beninese, over half of Benin’s population, and lift an estimated 250,000 of its citizens out of poverty by the year 2015.

The Beninese identified a poor investment climate and a lack of dynamic private sector activity as key impediments to sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction. Land insecurity, lack of access to capital, an inefficient judicial system, and an increasingly uncompetitive Port of Cotonou further hinder economic growth. The Millennium Challenge Compact with Benin aims to address thesekey constraints to economic growth and poverty reduction by supporting improvements in physical and institutional infrastructure in four critical sectors focusing on access to land, financial services, justice, and markets. The access to markets project is expected to reduce delays at the Port of Cotonou and increase the volume of exports in areas important to Benin such as cotton.

MCC is proud to work in partnership with the people of Benin on this Compact and congratulates them on this great achievement, said MCC CEO Ambassador John Danilovich. The Beninese designed and developed the program following a comprehensive consultative process with all segments of their society. I want to recognize President Krkou’s leadership and his team for their hard work. MCC looks forward to continuing our partnership as we work together to implement the Compact, which will provide hope and opportunity to the poor in Benin.

Ambassador Danilovich added, MCC was designed to work with and reward nations that have demonstrated a commitment to adopting good policies that will spur economic growth and reduce poverty. Like all MCA countries, Benin’s participation in the Millennium Challenge program is predicated on its dedication to three fundamental principles: ruling justly, investing in people, and encouraging economic freedom throughout the life of the CompactThe election on March 5th is a significant milestone in Benin’s history and I commend President Krkou and the Government of Benin for their commitment to hold these elections consistent with Benin’s Constitution.

Launched by President Bush in 2004, the Millennium Challenge Account is an innovative approach to development assistance that recognizes sound policies and good governance as critical to poverty reduction and economic growth in developing countries.

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Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), a U.S. government corporation designed to work with some of the poorest countries in the world, is based on the principle that aid is most effective when it reinforces good governance, economic freedom, and investments in people that promote economic growth and elimination of extreme poverty.