Speech

September 26, 2013

As Prepared by

New York City

Remarks by MCC CEO Daniel W. Yohannes at MCC event on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly

Africa's Economic Transition:Opportunities for Private Investment

President Guebuza of Mozambique,

President Kikwete of Tanzania,

Head of Government Benkirane of Morocco,

Prime Minister Thabane of Lesotho,

Ambassador Gips,

Thank you so much for joining us for what promises to be a very thoughtful conversation. Given the many demands on your time, we are especially fortunate to have you here.

Special thanks to my friend, Ambassador Donald Gips, for moderating. He represented our country so well in South Africa as U.S. Ambassador and recognizes the tremendous importance of the private sector in Africa’s long-term development.

And, let me also thank the private sector leaders who are here this morning.

As world leaders gather for the United Nations General Assembly, I welcome this opportunity to meet with all of you to discuss investment opportunities in Lesotho, Morocco, Mozambique, and Tanzania.

These four countries are MCC partners in Africa. They were selected to be our partners because they have in place the social, democratic and economic governance policies conducive to private sector-driven growth. They are committed to controlling corruption and advancing the rule of law, for example.

And, each of these four countries just completed a compact with MCC last week. This is not easy, given the demands our model puts on our partners to design, implement and evaluate programs that are both operationally complex and policy intense.

I want to sincerely congratulate our partners on their compact completions and the considerable investments made to expand health care, train workers, rehabilitate major roads, and advance greater energy security, water security and land security.

Make no mistake about this: These assets—and the associated institutional and policy reforms—are critical to jumpstarting and driving growth.

Now, we must shift our focus to sustaining what we have accomplished by working toward a new relationship built less around foreign aid and more around trade and investment.   

That’s why we are here. And, that’s where you—the private sector—come in.

We know the private sector is instrumental in sustaining and accelerating  economic growth, leading innovation, creating jobs, and attracting even more investments that follow-on or parallel our development successes. 

Because MCC partners are creating business-friendly environments, we seek systematic ways to work with the private sector, from first analyzing the binding constraints to private investment and growth to partnering during implementation to evaluating impact at the end.

So, I invite you—the private sector—to discover the business opportunities in these four countries.

I challenge you to make the most of this opportunity to speak frankly and openly with the leaders of these four countries about doing business in their countries in ways that are mutually beneficial.

Because of MCC’s business-like approach to development, our partners represented here today are already organized and ready to discuss investments with you. 

As someone who spent over 30 years in the private sector, I know companies like yours bring fresh ideas to solving problems effectively and promoting sustainable development. Here’s your chance to do what you do best.

And may the conversation we start here today be just the beginning of ongoing dialogue.