Speech

December 19, 2011

As Prepared by Cassandra Q. Butts, Senior Advisor

Burkina Faso

Remarks of MCC Senior Advisor Cassandra Butts at Burkina Faso Groundbreaking Event

What a great pleasure to join you here in Burkina Faso, the land of honest people! Thank you for your welcome and hospitality. I convey warm greetings and best wishes from Daniel Yohannes, the Chief Executive Officer of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, who stands with the people of Burkina Faso as you work with diligence and determination to implement your nearly 481 million dollar MCC program, what we call a compact.

The United States, under the leadership of President Barack Obama, believes in partnering with countries willing to help themselves to a future of greater opportunity. When President Obama made his historic first trip to sub-Saharan Africa, he stood before Ghana’s Parliament and said, “Africa’s future is up to Africans…opportunity won’t come from any other place…it must come from the decisions that all of you make, the things that you do, the hope that you hold in your heart.” President Obama talked about Africans “taking control of their destiny, and making changes from the bottom up.” That’s why U.S. development assistance today is built on a new reality: We must create conditions where assistance is no longer needed. We must work in true partnership, with a commitment to shared responsibility and mutual accountability.

This is exactly how the U.S. Government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation operates.
• MCC seeks partners—like the people of Burkina Faso—like you—who are committed to, and working toward, self-sufficiency. 

• We focus on one mission: reducing poverty through economic growth.

• We work with countries committed to reform and to making policy changes from the ground up that will help them help themselves.

• We invest in local, homegrown solutions to fight poverty, so here in Burkina Faso we are investing in your priorities for growth and development.

• And, just as we demand results from our investments, so do you.  As partners, we are in this together to deliver results that will be sustainable and meaningful in your lives, here in Di and Oué.

This is the new face of U.S. development effectiveness. And this is how MCC operates: country-driven, results-focused. In this framework, we meet today to break ground on the start of construction on the Di irrigated perimeter. This irrigated perimeter is an investment that the people of Burkina Faso themselves determined is essential for poverty reduction and economic growth.

You designed it. You are implementing it. And, you will reap the benefits.

Our investment will open new and long-lasting opportunities for the many farming families of your community by
• boosting agricultural productivity year round,

• increasing household incomes,

• enhancing food security, and

• creating a better quality of life. 

We are not investing in this perimeter to feed you just for a season. We are investing in you—with you—to feed your children and your children’s children.

To sustain these results well into the future, Burkina Faso is making necessary policy reforms, particularly related to water operations and the maintenance of irrigation infrastructure.  As you complete this irrigation project and implement the necessary reforms, you will feel the impact here in Di. 

We are proud to count Burkina Faso among our partner countries. The success we mark today, however, is only the beginning.  What you have started here in Di—and in all other parts of the compact— must be completed in full to deliver positive impact in your lives and the lives of those who come after you.  Stay focused on this goal, and work toward it with great enthusiasm and energy. The people of Burkina Faso expect and deserve nothing less than the full promise of their compact with MCC. Let us now recommit ourselves to working even harder to make this promise a reality.

Thank you so much. Merci.