Speech

December 8, 2009

As Prepared by

Department of State, Washington, DC

Remarks at MCC CEO Daniel W. Yohannes’ Swearing-In Ceremony

Madam Secretary, Members of the administration, Friends from the development community, Distinguished guests, Family and friends, Congressman Payne, Congressman Perlmutter, who I have worked with for the last 18 years, Mayor Webb, Deputy Secretary Jack Lew, thank you, all, for being here.

It is a privilege to take part in the U.S. Government’s historic commitment to fight poverty, and I am humbled by the opportunity to serve by leading the Millennium Challenge Corporation.

Madam Secretary, I am grateful for your presence here today and also for your support. I also appreciate the trust President Obama has placed in my ability to lead MCC. I look forward to working together to ensure that entrenched poverty no longer stifles opportunity for so many around the world, who are striving for a better life.

I would also like to acknowledge my family here with me today: my wife and children. There are no words to fully thank them for their constant support.

From the very first day of the Obama Administration, ending global poverty has been a priority. We see this through the President’s commitment

  • to promote global food security and reduce hunger and poverty;
  • to embrace a new, integrated approach to global health; and
  • to elevate development, alongside diplomacy and defense, as a key pillar of effective U.S. global engagement.

It is clear: The President and the Secretary of State are committed to expanding opportunities for the worlds poor. The work of the Millennium Challenge Corporation is one way to do just that.

I am proud to now lead an organization making strides in the fight against global poverty. Already, MCC is working to invest over $7 billion in results-focused programs in

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

With

  • every farmer trained,
  • every newly built road that allows access to marketplaces and hospitals,
  • every entrepreneur able to grow a business through a micro-loan,
  • every household drinking clean water, and
  • every girl attending school,

MCC is expanding opportunities for the worlds poor.

Together with MCCs dedicated professionals, we must build on this progress. MCC has learned a great deal from its first few years.

And, now we must

  • show results,
  • be more innovative in MCCs compact programs, and
  • find more ways to involve and encourage the private sector.

This means working with countries committed to the sound policies of good governance. We know U.S. assistance can do the most good in countries where transparency and the rule of law already nurture a climate for lasting growth. This means building strong partnerships. This means being accountable and delivering results.

None of this is easy, but I, for one, believe in the promise of opportunity. I come from one of the poorest countries on Earth, where the misery of systemic poverty is a way of life for the majority of people in that country. They, like so many around the world, seek opportunities for a better life.

In the coming months and years, MCC will deepen its commitment to creating opportunity and fostering economic growth in developing countries worldwide. And, we will do so with

  • transparency,
  • accountability,
  • and a focus on results.

With ongoing guidance and support from

  • the President,
  • you, Madam Secretary,
  • the entire MCC board,
  • and Members of Congress,

MCC is prepared to become an even more effective tool of U.S. global engagement in the fight against global poverty.

This will help generate meaningful opportunities that advance our common prosperity.
Thank you for the opportunity to lead the Millennium Challenge Corporation. I look forward to the life-changing work ahead. Thank you.