Speech

July 14, 2008

As Delivered by John J. Danilovich, Chief Executive Officer

U.S. State Department

‘Signing Ceremony of the Burkina Faso Compact’

Benjamin Franklin Rooms

Good morning. I invite you to please take your seats.
 

  • President Compaore,
  • Secretary Rice,
  • Minister Bassole,
  • Distinguished Ministers and Members of the Burkinabe delegation,
  • Senator Mike Enzi of Wyoming,
  • Deputy Secretary of State Negroponte,
  • Ambassador Yonli,
  • U.S. Ambassador Jackson—a tireless supporter of MCC and the Burkina Faso compact,
  • Distinguished Ambassadors,
  • And, I want to particularly acknowledge those Ambassadors and Embassy representatives from our MCC partner and potential partner countries.  Since this is the last MCC compact to be signed in Washington during this Administration, it is wonderful to see so many of you here today to express your support for the Millennium Challenge Corporation. 

It is a pleasure to welcome you all to the signing of the compact between Burkina Faso and the Millennium Challenge Corporation. 

This is truly a great day for MCC and for the people of Burkina Faso, whose determination created the $481 million compact we sign today.  The compact’s investments in

  • land security,
  • agriculture,
  • irrigation,
  • roads,
  • and primary education

reflect a comprehensive approach to reducing poverty and stimulating sustainable economic growth.  These investments demonstrate Burkina’s resolve to deliver results that will improve the lives of their citizens and create a foundation for a more prosperous future. 

I commend the efforts of the Burkina Faso and MCC teams—led respectively by Joseph Sirima and David Weld—who have worked with perseverance—and, at times, ingenuity—to make this compact a reality.  Congratulations on your terrific efforts!

The MCC Model

Burkina Faso’s compact is an exemplary model of how MCC delivers smart aid in ways that focus on results.  By forging effective partnerships, built on accountability and responsibility, MCC is changing the lives of the poor through our

  • innovative,
  • different,
  • and demanding

approach to development assistance.  Our approach motivates countries

  • to further their
    • political,
    • economic,
    • and social policy performance,
  • to build their capacity to lead their

    development efforts,

  • and to engage the private sector to fuel their

    long-term growth.

Good policies build accountability.  Holding countries responsible for their development and results sustains such accountability.  And, exploring ways to leverage our public investment with the resources of the private sector expands that accountability.  This is smart; and MCC’s smart model is working

  • around the world,
  • in Africa,
  • and in Burkina Faso.

Burkina Faso’s Compact

As our 17th compact, and our tenth in Africa, Burkina Faso’s compact reflects the best of the MCC approach. 

First, the compact builds on a culture of reform already underway in Burkina Faso. Though one of the world’s poorest countries, Burkina has

  • undertaken broad market-oriented reforms,
  • decentralized power to local governments,
  • adopted a new labor code,
  • and improved its business climate. 

It is no wonder that the International Finance Corporation named the country one of Africa’s top reformers in 2007. The MCC compact is a major component of—and contributor to—Burkina’s own reform agenda to continue creating opportunities for the poorest Burkinabe.  

Second, the compact captures the voice of the people of Burkina Faso.  The compact is by Burkinabe for Burkinabe. 

  • Civil society representatives,
  • the private sector,
  • groups of farmers and women,
  • and government officials

in all 13 regions of the country joined in a robust consultative process to identify their constraints to development. 

And, third, the investments made by this compact overcome those self-identified constraints to economic growth.

  • First, the compact invests in land security.  Farmers are more willing to make productive investments in their land if they know they have secure access to it.  The compact invests nearly $60 million to improve land tenure security and land management by supporting, among other measures, legal and procedural policy reforms. 
  • Second, the compact invests in agriculture development.  Nearly 85 percent of Burkina’s population is involved in agricultural activities, and to increase productivity in this sector, $142 million of the compact’s total will be invested in irrigation infrastructure and agricultural development.  Farmers will benefit from
    • irrigated plots of land,
    • technical assistance,
    • and greater access to rural credit in order to produce higher-value agricultural and livestock products.  
  • Third, the compact invests in roads.  Farmers need access to markets to sell their agricultural products and livestock, and buy necessary inputs. More than $194 million will be used to rehabilitate rural and primary roads.  Residents of nine provinces are expected to gain greater access to
    • markets,
    • health,
    • and education facilities because of improvements to these rural roads.
  • And, fourth, the compact invests in primary education, particularly for girls. Improving the literacy and math skills of girls gives them greater employment opportunities in the long run and contributes to a more productive labor force.  Building on Burkina’s very successful MCC threshold program that constructed 132 “girl-friendly” schools, nearly $30 million of the compact will be used to expand each of these schools to include additional classrooms for fourth through six graders.  Burkina  demonstrates a strong willingness to invest in its citizens, an essential ingredient for sustainable growth and poverty reduction. 

And, we are pleased to cooperate with the United States Agency for International Development in Burkina.  USAID’s implementation of Burkina’s MCC threshold program—with participation from international and local nongovernmental organizations—is a striking example of how development agencies—even with different approaches and mandates—can work together in partnership to accomplish extraordinary results for the good of the poor.

The synergy among these compact projects creates a plan of action for the people of Burkina to reduce poverty and promote economic growth.  The government is committed to the sustainability of these programs—whether by budgeting for road maintenance or providing trained teachers for the new classrooms.  This level of responsibility and accountability is necessary to leverage and make the most effective use of our investment of American taxpayer dollars through this MCC grant to Burkina Faso.

President Compaore, I would like to thank you for your personal involvement throughout this process, and for your visionary leadership and commitment to the success of the Burkina Faso-MCC compact. The Millennium Challenge Corporation is proud to partner with your country.

As this compact now enters the implementation stage, we shall, together, work to deliver meaningful results in the lives of the people of Burkina Faso.  Let us resolve today—starting with the historic signing of the compact between Burkina Faso and the Millennium Challenge Corporation—to deliver on this great promise.

Conclusion

It is now my pleasure to introduce the Chairman of MCC’s Board, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.  As you know, this will be the last MCC compact signed in Washington during this Administration. 

MCC has come a long way since its creation four years ago.  It that short span of time, it has  gone from zero to what soon will be 18 compacts, investing over $6 billion to reduce poverty and sustain economic growth in countries with good government and good governance throughout the world.  The acknowledged success of our innovative and noble endeavor is owed, to a large extent—from its conception to the present—to our MCC Chairman, Dr. Condoleezza Rice. 

I want to express to you, Madam Chairman, on behalf of all of us at MCC and on behalf of all of our partner countries—and from the bottom of my heart—our sincere gratitude for your wise and measured leadership and for all the great efforts you have made to ensure the legacy of the Millennium Challenge Corporation. 
Secretary Rice…