Press Release

For Immediate Release

March 26, 2009

Contact: 202-521-3850

Email: info@mcc.gov

MCC Hosts Forum to Explore New Business Opportunities that Will Help Reduce Poverty in Morocco

March 26, 2009,

Washington, D.C.The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) hosted a business roundtable in partnership with the Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco and the Moroccan American Trade and Investment Center (MATIC) to discuss significant upcoming procurement opportunities in connection with the poverty reduction and economic growth program that MCC is funding in Morocco. MCC Morocco Resident Country Director Muneera Salem-Murdock, MCC Director of Fiscal Accountability Sinnammal Souppaya, and Executive Director for MATIC Jean Abinader led the discussion with a group of international business investors.

MCC is dedicated to reform, liberalization, and modernization, which creates a good investment environment for businesses, said Ms. Salem-Murdock. MCC shares with Morocco a commitment to help reduce poverty for its people. Morocco is located at a geographically strategic crossroads and is becoming a natural magnet for international business and investment as a result of its partnership with MCC. I want to thank the Moroccan Embassy and MATIC for joining us and supporting a pro-business, pro-investment climate in Morocco that will yield tangible changes for the people and the region.

As an innovative U.S. Government approach to development assistance, MCC provides poverty reduction grants to countries that are working to improve their economies for the benefit of their citizens. Because eligibility for MCC funds is tied to performance on measures of fiscal, monetary, regulatory, and trade policy, including the number of days required to start a business; MCC creates a powerful incentive for countries to foster a business climate where the private sector can flourish. MCC works to stimulate homegrown entrepreneurship, small business development, and investor opportunities for domestic and international companies.

The compact signed with MCC is part of Moroccos own national development agenda. The compact leverages and complements reforms already underway to modernize and strengthen existing sectors.

MCC also discussed the procurement processes used by the government of Morocco in connection with the compact, including bidding documents, payment process, and the bid challenge system. Compact procurements are governed by MCCs program procurement guidelines, which are fair, competitive, transparent, and open and modeled after the World Banks guidelines. MCC requires that procurements are untied to specific contractors, demand past experience and environmental, health, safety, and labor standards, are advertised openly, apply checks and balances to guard against abusive discretion, provide professional independent oversight, and pay contractors though a common payment system.

MCC signed a five-year, $697.5 million compact with the Kingdom of Morocco in August 2007, to reduce poverty and increase economic growth. The program seeks to stimulate economic growth by increasing productivity and improving employment in high potential sectors including investments in fruit tree productivity, small-scale fisheries, and artisan crafts. Small business creation and growth will be supported by investments in financial services and enterprise support.

# # #

The Millennium Challenge Corporation, a U.S. government agency designed to work with developing countries, is based on the principle that aid is most effective when it reinforces sound political, economic, and social policies that promote poverty reduction through economic growth. For more information about MCC, visit www.mcc.gov.