The global community is turning considerable attention to the pressing problem of world food prices and food security. While these immediate problems deserve prompt attention, we must work with our friends and partners to identify the long-term solutions that will not only feed people today, but also provide them with the economic tools and infrastructure they need to count on for food security tomorrow.
When MCC sits down to discuss impediments to long-term economic growth with a partner country, investments in the rural and agriculture sectors are usually at the top of our partners list. As a result, many of these countries have asked MCC, through our grants called compacts, to fund infrastructure and agricultural investments needed for long-term, sustainable, market-based solutions. To date, MCC has made significant rural and agriculture-related investment obligations, including projects in fifteen of the sixteen countries where we currently have compacts. All told, MCC has obligated nearly $2.8 billion to strengthen the agricultural and rural economies in eligible countries to ensure increased and sustainable food production and reliable access to sufficient, safe, and affordable food.
MCC investments in food systems are critical to helping the worlds poor provide for their families and communities today and in the future. These investments, moreover, will better position them to face potential future crises with greater capacity and resilience. The development of a more robust and productive agricultural economy in MCC eligible countries is enabling improved access to affordable, safe food for their rural communities as well as for the increasing number of citizens who live in urban areas.