Speech

September 10, 2008

As Prepared by John J. Danilovich, Chief Executive Officer

Washington, DC

‘Post-Namibia Compact Signing Outreach Event Remarks’

Introduction

Ambassador Nandago,

Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Africa Florie Lise,

Friends of Namibia,

It is a pleasure to welcome you all to the headquarters of the Millennium Challenge Corporation to discuss our newest compact on the African continent—that with Namibia.

MCC is proud to partner with 18 countries in

  • Africa,
  • Central America,
  • Eurasia,
  • and the Pacific,

where our commitments now total over $6.3 billion in grants. Over 70 percent of these grants benefit the people of Africa.  Namibia marks our 11th compact partnership in Africa and stands as a further testament of our staunch and steadfast support for Africa’s development—for building on the good things already happening in Africa.

This compact reflects the next chapter in Namibia’s story of development and captures the country’s determination to end poverty and stimulate sustainable economic growth that will create new opportunities for Namibians.  The Namibians are fostering the very conditions that will attract greater private enterprise activity, which, ultimately, is the unstoppable engine of sustainable growth.

MCC’s deputy CEO Rodney Bent travelled to Windhoek to join Prime Minister Angula in late July to sign the $304 million MCC-Namibia compact.  When I talked to Rodney, he shared with me how excited the Namibians are about MCC’s approach to development and how they see our assistance as helping them accomplish the goals they themselves have outlined for their growth.

Namibia’s Compact

I would like to share a few details about Namibia’s compact with you, and why we see it as important for the country’s long-term growth.

The $304 million Namibia-MCC compact makes strategic investments in three sectors:

  • education,
  • tourism,
  • and agriculture.

While the panel will go into greater detail, I’d like to say a few words about these areas as they are each significant to Namibia’s goal of tapping into the entrepreneurship of private enterprise to drive growth and lift the poor out of poverty.

  • First, the compact invests in education. An educated and skilled workforce is a fundamental ingredient for reducing poverty and stimulating growth.  Namibians understand this, and Namibia’s MCC grant builds on the country’s commitment to education and to investing in its citizens.  This will further provide the Namibians with the skills and education needed to participate in a productive economy.
  • Second, the compact invests in tourism.  Namibia’s natural beauty is one of its key assets, and tourism to develop those areas is a critical and emerging component of the Namibian economy.  By
    • improving the management and infrastructure of Etosha National Park,
    • enhancing the marketing of Namibian tourism,
    • and developing the capacity of communal conservancies to attract investments in ecotourism,

Namibians will strengthen this key sector and generate income and jobs for poor, rural households. 

Namibia’s commitment to tourism includes the recent passage into law of the Environmental Management Bill, establishing mandatory review and mitigation procedures to protect the environment and promote the sustainable management of natural resources.

  • And, third, the compact invests in agriculture.  Agriculture is a key component of the Namibian economy.  Investments in agricultural development will help farmers, including women, increase their productivity and profits.

Namibia’s compact to reduce poverty and stimulate sustainable economic growth in these three ways is significant for several reasons.

First, the compact confirms that Namibia is on the right track.  It is not easy for a country to become eligible for MCC funding. As a different and demanding model of development assistance, built on accountability, MCC partners only with those countries that perform well on a set of 17 transparent

  • political,
  • economic,
  • and social indicators.  

Our partner countries are actively

  • reforming,
  • strengthening good governance,
  • fighting corruption,
  • investing in health and education,
  • protecting the environment,
  • creating a business-friendly climate,
  • and encouraging economic freedom.

Namibia continues to enhance its performance on MCC’s selection indicators by adopting key policy reforms, confirming that the most dedicated countries—regardless of income level—can be champions of bold change.

It even identified a senior-level official in the Office of the President to lead and oversee Namibia’s efforts to enhance its indicator performance.  And, the factors that determine who would make our best partners are the same ones the private sector evaluates to determine where to invest. MCC’s emphasis on good policies is also good for business development.

Second, the compact builds Namibia’s capacity. As is the case with all our partners, Namibia’s compact outlines country-determined solutions for country-identified challenges.  It is a plan by Namibians for Namibians.  Namibians will benefit most from the compact by taking the primary lead in its implementation.   

  • They have created their own core team of Namibians to manage the process.
  • They have budgeted and invested their own funds to deliver compact results. 
  • They continue to make policy and institutional reforms.  
  • They are launching their fiscal and procurement agents to govern all compact procurements to international standards of
    • competition,
    • transparency,
    • and equal access. 

By working toward the compact’s success in these ways, Namibians are deepening the knowledge and abilities they need to lead their own development well after the compact’s end.

Third, the compact creates opportunities for private enterprise to grow and thrive. Private enterprise needs skilled labor; and the compact’s investments in education make this possible.   In order to diversify the economy, the government is placing particular emphasis on two of the country’s fastest growing sectors: agriculture and tourism.  And, the compact builds on this emphasis.  

I invite those of you here today from the private sector to consider how MCC’s investments in Namibia can be a starting point for complementary or add-on investments of your own.  Through the sound policies and stronger capacity fostered by our model, we are creating a pro-business environment that clearly says: Namibia is open for business.  I encourage you to explore the opportunities, for the success of your business and for the prosperity of the people of Namibia.

Logo

While congratulating Namibians on the signing of their compact, I am pleased that we could use this occasion to also write a new chapter in MCC’s story as an innovative program for delivering foreign assistance that tackles the needs of the world’s poor with sustainable, long-term solutions for economic growth. Today, that chapter is marked by the unveiling of the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s new logo for the first time.

Many thanks to local design firm The Sutter Group for assisting us in designing the new logo, and we are pleased that Karen Sutter could join us here this morning.

With advice from

  • our friends in Congress,
  • partners in the field,
  • and other stakeholders,

our logo establishes a clearer connection among

  • MCC’s programs,
  • the people of the United States,
  • and our partners worldwide.

After all, it is the generosity and compassion of the American people that make our work in MCC partner countries possible in the first place. As a result, MCC’s new logo captures some of the very symbols of America, and stands as a striking emblem of partnership and progress.

The new MCC logo is built around a classic star, like those on the American flag. 

It contains sweeping stripes of red and white, symbolizing the fields and roads that are at the heart of many MCC programs around the world.  In fact, you can even see the curve of the Earth in our new logo, emphasizing that our partnerships span the globe and our commitment to ending poverty is worldwide.

It contains three stars for the three principles upon which MCC cooperation is built:

  • aid with accountability,
  • country ownership and partnership,
  • and results-based assistance

—all essential ingredients for poverty reduction and sustainable economic growth.

These same ingredients are part of MCC’s innovative compact with Namibia.

Conclusion

I am deeply honored that the Millennium Challenge Corporation is partnering with the government and people of Namibia to promote

  • growth,
  • development,
  • and lasting prosperity. 

Our partnership is that much more fruitful when the private sector joins us, and, working together, we can achieve tremendous outcomes that will improve the lives of the poorest Namibians today and well into the future. 

Thank you very much for being here today, for your ongoing interest the work of the Millennium Challenge Corporation around the world, including in Namibia.

Introduction of Namibia’s Ambassador Nandago

It is now my great pleasure to introduce and invite to the podium Namibia’s ambassador to the United States.

  • Ambassador Patrick Nandago has served in Namibia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs as Chief of Protocol and Under Secretary.
  • Before arriving in Washington, he served as Namibia’s ambassador to Brazil—a country where we both have served in our diplomatic careers.

Please join me in welcoming Namibia’s Ambassador Patrick Nandago.

Mr. Ambassador…