Building Blocks for Prosperity

Last week, MCC signed threshold agreements with Rwanda and Albania to support their efforts to become eligible for U.S. Government assistance under the Millennium Challenge Account. While these two countries have little in common in terms of geography, cultural heritage, or history, they share a fundamental aspiration: to give their citizens the building blocks to construct economic self-reliance in a meaningful and prosperous way. At a standing-room only ceremony on Capitol Hill to celebrate the threshold program with Rwanda, and at a similar ceremony in Tirana for the threshold program with Albania, there was much discussion about the importance of these building blocks. It is something that the United States is successfully addressing through innovations like MCC.

Systemic poverty robs people of basic freedoms and choices. The sound economic, political, and social policies that MCC expects from its partners are helping create societies where entrepreneurship can flourish. The roads, land titles, schools, water and sanitation improvements, and agricultural programs that MCC supports are allowing men and women to choose their economic path, instead of being constrained by poverty. Rather than fleeing to urban areas or crossing borders, these people are building a solid economic, political, and social future right at home. This builds stability; and greater economic stability for the worlds poor means a healthier global economy and world community for all of us.

Innovations in assistance, such as MCC, are the subject of a historic White House Summit on International Development that will take place in Washington this Tuesday. I am pleased that MCC has been asked to convene a panel discussion on economic growth as part of this meeting. The conversation about how to best deliver U.S. Government assistance continues to underline the need for results-based programs that measure not just the dollars disbursed, but tangible, positive impacts in the lives of the poor. A recent report by Oxfam International discusses this concept and points to MCC as one way it is being addressed. This principle is part of our work in Africa just as much as it is in Eurasia and Latin America. Countries such as Denmark, with whom MCC signed a Memorandum of Understanding earlier this month, are also looking at how to maximize their poverty reduction investments abroad, and MCC is proud to be working with them to make that goal a reality. In a month when the world commemorates the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty and World Food Day, concerted, positive actions like these are among the best things we can do to ensure that the fight against poverty results in tangible, positive impacts for the poor.

These essential building blocks for economic success are something that Americans take seriously. At MCC, by asking recipients of U.S. assistance to enact policies that foster good governance, investments in their people, and greater economic freedom, we are helping strengthen the building blocks for global prosperity that benefit us all. Thank you for your continued comments and feedback at