As a new MCC Board member, I was excited at the possibility of visiting MCC projects in Mongolia. One of our fiduciary responsibilities as board members is to ensure that MCC’s investments are a wise use of U.S. tax dollars. What I saw in Mongolia is encouraging evidence that MCC’s investments are making an effective difference.
MCC’s partnership with Mongolia focuses on five key areas: securing land titles and sustainably managing rangelands in peri-urban areas; expanding vocational and technical training; improving health; promoting clean, renewable energy; and rehabilitating a critical north-south road that will increase economic activity throughout Mongolia.
I saw progress in all of these areas. For example, I visited a family in Chingeltei in their traditional house, or ger. The family owns an energy efficient stove subsidized by the compact’s Energy and Environment Project, which is helping nearly 100,000 families in Ulaanbaatar. I also handed out land ownership certificates to beneficiaries from five different districts as part of the Property Rights Project. I heard from Ambassador Piper Campbell about the importance of the 176.4 kilometer Road Project that will give Mongolia its first fully paved road connecting the country’s north and south. And, I also learned about non-communicable diseases, an issue of increasing attention around the world, through a visit to a family clinic in Sukhbaatar. Thanks to MCC’s investment, Mongolians are changing their behaviors to prevent non-communicable diseases and injuries such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. This is improving their productive years in the labor force.
When the $285 million compact partnership is completed this September, Mongolia will be in a better position to generate greater private sector activity, which is the engine of long-term growth, through improved infrastructure and a healthier, more productive workforce ready to meet the skills demanded by private industry.
Seeing these projects clarified and reinforced that our tax dollars are improving the lives of Mongolians. The results are real; I saw them with my own eyes. And Mongolians themselves are taking the necessary steps to maintain these efforts well beyond the life of MCC’s compact. This strong commitment to sustainability gives me even more reason to believe in a prosperous and healthy future for Mongolians.
My work, on behalf of the Open Society Foundations, has focused on improving human rights and strengthening democracy, and I am encouraged by MCC’s work in Mongolia. With a commitment to democratic governance, sustainability, gender equality, and improving access to economic opportunities and health care, the MCC compact is working to reduce poverty though economic growth, help move Mongolia down the path toward self-sufficiency and deepen its democracy.