Speech

October 12, 2011

As Prepared by

Bamako, Mali

Remarks of MCC CEO Daniel Yohannes at the Bamako Airport

Thank you for your warm welcome to Mali! I am happy to be here.

It’s an honor to join you to see how the partnership between Mali and the U.S. Government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation is creating tangible opportunities for economic growth. Our partnership is helping the people of Mali transition out of poverty toward greater prosperity in a way that reflects your priorities.

And the priority is clear: The people of Mali want a better life for themselves and their children. Malians want jobs; they want to trade; they want a life of self-sufficiency and economic prosperity that is sustainable. MCC’s approach to results-focused development—one that values sound policy reforms, economic growth, accountability, transparency, and efficiency—matches what Mali seeks.

That is why we are working together to modernize, expand and rehabilitate this airport. Investing in the Bamako Airport is key to long-term poverty reduction and economic growth.

I do not have to tell you about the challenges. As a landlocked country, this airport is Mali’s doorway to the region and the world. Yet, the runway here is one of the shortest and oldest in West Africa. This severely limits the volume of goods that can come in and out of Mali. This puts farmers and businesses at a competitive disadvantage.

The United States-Mali partnership through MCC will change all that. What we launch here today will rehabilitate and extend the airport’s runway.

  • We are building a new terminal as you can clearly see.
  • We are improving the airport’s facilities.
  • We are increasing institutional capacity and improving airport management. And, stronger capacity will help sustain the physical improvements underway.
  • We are implementing a public-private partnership to operate and manage airport facilities.
  • We are forging partnerships with the private sector.
  • We are improving the airport’s security and efficiency.

 Transforming the Bamako Airport helps put Mali on a path to prosperity.

  • Small businesses at the airport will create jobs and increase profits, and I applaud the Government of Mali for their efforts to make this a reality.
  • A modern airport will give thousands of Malian farmers access to markets, where they can sell their products at the peak of freshness at the best prices.
  • A more efficient airport means greater business links, trade and tourism.

The U.S. investment in Mali’s airport through MCC is an investment in economic growth, trade, and prosperity. As MCC’s CEO, I am personally committed to these life-changing results.

Ultimately, however, Mali owns the process. So, it is essential that you focus on the full and timely completion of this important project in the remaining 11 months. Your leadership and determination will deliver sustainable results in the fight against poverty and generate growth and prosperity throughout Mali. 

I look forward to returning to Bamako in the future and landing on a new and improved runway and entering a beautiful terminal, all of which will serve Mali well for generations to come. Merci.