Speech

September 5, 2013

As Prepared by Cassandra Q. Butts, Senior Advisor

Mongolia

Remarks by MCC Senior Advisor Cassandra Butts in Mongolia

at the Choir-Sainshand Road Project Opening Ceremony

Ambassador Campbell,

MCA-Mongolia CEO Mr. Batbaatar,

MCA-Mongolia Road Project Director Dr. Batsaikhan,

Colleagues from MCA-Mongolia,

I am excited and grateful to be with all of you this afternoon to mark a wonderful milestone in the partnership between Mongolia and the U.S. Government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation. Our partnership is designed to reduce poverty through economic growth and to achieve the priorities Mongolians themselves have outlined for sustainable development. One of your priorities for MCC’s $285 million investment in Mongolia was constructing this critical north-south road, which we now officially open.

It is an honor to join you for this opening. And I bring the well wishes and congratulations of MCC’s Chief Executive Officer, Daniel Yohannes, who commends the people and Government of Mongolia on the upcoming completion of your MCC compact, including completing this critical road project. 

We all know how important reliable infrastructure is to long-term economic growth. A road like this creates a highway to opportunity. It is key for commerce and trade, and to help Mongolians access needed services like health centers and schools. I understand that the north-south road—which runs 174 kilometers—reduces the travel time from Choir to Sainshand by more than half, from 5 hours to just over 2 hours. It will help connect the growing city of Sainshand with the capital of Ulaanbaatar. Ultimately, it will provide Mongolia—for the first time—with an all-weather paved road from its northern border with Russia all the way down to its southern border with China. I am also pleased that Mongolia has budgeted for road repair and maintenance activities to ensure the sustainability of this newly constructed road.

I applaud the people of Mongolia for finishing this project on time and with a constant eye on quality. The people of Mongolia now have a road that they—and their children—can use today and well into the future. So, let us mark this opening not just with celebration but also with renewed commitment to maintain this road—and sustain its many benefits—for the people and prosperity of Mongolia.

Thank you so much. Bayarlalaa.

And, all the very best to those who will participate in the marathon on this newly constructed road later today!