One of my favorite parts of visiting MCC partner countries is spending time with those who are benefiting from our investments. After three days in Morocco seeing the impact of completed projects as the country’s MCC compact prepares to come to a close this September, I was struck by the optimism and excitement among the Moroccans I met whose lives are changing for the better because of our partnership.
With a just-completed modern landing site in Sidi Abed and innovative motorized bikes with insulated ice chests that allow mobile vendors to preserve the quality of the catch and sell it at higher prices, MCC is helping to make Moroccan fishers more competitive. While touring the site, I met fishers, mobile vendors and members of a women’s cooperative that collects and dries algae and collects and processes sea urchins and sea cucumbers. They shared with me how excited they are about their future economic opportunities and how grateful they are to the American people for making those happen.
With more reliable access to irrigation water, the farmers in Ourika have big plans for their futures. Rather than just grow and sell almonds, olives, figs, and dates in their nearby villages and local markets, they are expanding their horizons to reach more and more consumers in Morocco's larger markets, creating much added value. The Berber farmers I met in Ourika spoke movingly of these new opportunities that are making a big difference in their ability to provide a better standard of living for their families, especially their children. I was also impressed by the women’s cooperatives and their products; the bread, honey and amlou I tasted were delicious and all made from local ingredients. You can see the great pride written all over the women’s faces.
The stories of hope and optimism from these fishers and farmers show how we are creating the right economic opportunities for growth in Morocco through our MCC-funded projects. Equally clear is the commitment to sustaining these results. Time and again, the government ministers I met spoke of Morocco’s support for all components of the MCC model, especially the focus on lasting results and not just outputs. Various ministers shared with me how the MCC approach is increasingly becoming the new standard for many of their own development projects. When I had the privilege of meeting with His Majesty King Mohammed VI, he reiterated his country’s commitment to focusing on results and delivering on the promise of the MCC compact for Morocco’s citizens.
Changing the lives of ordinary Moroccans becomes so much more extraordinary when our vision is shared and supported by the government and executed by institutions, groups and individuals who believe in what they are doing, are committed to tangible results and are prepared to go above and beyond to achieve the goal of poverty reduction through sustainable economic growth. Morocco has already achieved remarkable results through its MCC compact. And, I am convinced that through ongoing close collaboration and effective partnership, we will realize the full promise of the compact by its end. By doing this, we will better the lives and increase the incomes of the hundreds of thousands of small farmers, fishers and artisans in Morocco.