Speech

February 1, 2010

As Prepared by

Pakro, Ghana

Remarks at the Pakro School Visit

Thank you for a beautiful and warm welcome to Ghana.

This is my first trip abroad as MCCs CEO.   And, I have come to see for myself the progress underway as a result of the $547 million partnership between Ghana and the U.S. Governments Millennium Challenge Corporation.

Ghanas compact includes a Community Services project to complement the focus on helping farmers.  This rural development project recognizes the importance of basic serviceslike water, sanitation, electricity.  And, it recognizes the key role that education plays in long-term poverty reduction by constructing and improving schools. 

In Ghana, we see the governments determination to adopt a holistic approach to developing a competitive education system.  The government is implementing a number of programs to provide universal quality education to all children, both boys and girls.   I am proud that Ghanas MCC compact supports these education goals.

To date, MCCs partnerMiDAhas constructed or improved 65 schools in 30 districts across Ghana.  Over the next two years, MiDA will invest millions of dollars more in developing community infrastructure.   Investing in education enhances future earnings and employment opportunities for students, while contributing to overall human development, economic growth, and poverty reduction.  Providing girls, for example, with just one extra year of education beyond the average increases their future wages up to 20 percent.  Ghana succeeds when our programs make sure that both men and women can succeed.   What we set in motion with each school we improve through Ghanas MCC compact will increase productivity in the years ahead.  It is an investment today in the workforce of tomorrow.  We are already hearing stories about increased school enrollment as a result of MiDAs efforts to improve classrooms and the learning environment.

I am pleased to be here with all of you at the Pakro Methodist Primary School.  This is an excellent example of the progress unfolding through the Ghana-MCC partnership.  The efforts of MCC and MiDA ensure that students have a solid building in which to learn.  We are told that Ghana doesnt have enough trained teachers, and attracting and retaining teachers in rural areas can be challenging.  MCC and MiDA are tackling this challenge by working with USAID.  USAIDs Community Teachers for Ghana Program is making sure that three teachers from the community are being trained to teach here and optimize the impact here.

Our partnership works.  And, it is working for the students of Ghana.   Let me say a word to the childrenthe studentshere today.  I, too, am a child of Africa.  I remember my school days in Ethiopiathe excitement of learning, the guidance from my teachers, meeting my classmates.  I know there are challenges.  I know its not always easy.  I encourage you to make the most of each day in school: to do your best, to learn, to listen, to think, to question, to wonder, and to never stop believing in your potential.  Remember: The sky is the limit.  You can move mountains.  You must be as proud of yourselves as we are proud of you.  We will do our part to provide the resources you need.  And, we are counting on you to do your part.

And, the Ghana-MCC partnership is doing its part by delivering development assistance in a new way. 

When President Obama travelled here last July, he spoke of redefining development assistance through partnership, not patronage; through Africas homegrown solutions; and through private sector engagement. What the President envisioned then is already a reality here in Ghana. We are seeing the future of development assistance through Ghanas transparent, country-led, results-driven implementation of its MCC compact. 

The U.S. Government through MCC is proud to partner with the people of Ghana to achieve the success of the compact, including the success of our investments in education.  Let me thank MiDA for its leadership in implementing the compact.  Let me also thank other donors, including our friends at USAID, who continue to partner with us so that we can maximize the impact.  

Together, we canand willcreate sustainable opportunities for reducing poverty and promoting economic growth, starting with schools like this one at Pakro.  The people of Ghana, including the students, expectand deserveno less. Let us remain committed to the important work of expanding education to create a brighter future for Ghanas next generation.  Thank you very much.