I met a farmer who sells cucumbers and tomatoes and is benefiting from the Agribusiness Development Activity. A total of 280 agribusiness and farm production projects have been funded, resulting in over 2,800 jobs.
I visited a chicken hatching facility that received funds from the Georgia Regional Development Fund project.
Even for those of us involved in global development, it’s easy to wonder sometimes whether your work is making a difference.
Last week, I got my answer. I traveled to Georgia to attend compact closeout ceremonies and get a first-hand look at MCC’s investments in this region. I’m happy to report that the MCC model is working.
I spent three days in Georgia, and I wanted to see as much of MCC’s work as possible. So I met with beneficiaries. I drove the newly rehabilitated Samtskhe-Javakheti road. I heard at all levels about the struggles, the challenges, and the enthusiasm behind the MCC-funded work in Georgia. After all of that, I am impressed.
The Samtskhe-Javakheti road rehabilitation is the project that, at first glance, will yield the most immediate and tangible impacts on commerce and tourism around the country. Businesses are transporting their goods and tour operators are creating new routes that make use of this road, accessing the lakes and caves that are found along the way.
The less tangible but potentially more impactful investments, in my opinion, will be the MCC-funded credit and grants programs. I met young entrepreneurs who are eager to expand and excited to take advantage of the opportunities that this source of capital provides. People are benefiting throughout Georgia and the impact will be felt for years to come.
I saw accountability, country ownership and tangible results at work. U.S. Ambassador Bass said it best: “MCC has made us think differently about how the USG partners with countries.”
This compact could have been disrupted by any number of events in Georgia – a war in 2008 and implementation challenges not least among them. Instead, the compact was completed successfully and the results are easy to spot.
I can now say with certainty: MCC works.