Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton chaired her first MCC Board meeting this week. I was pleased to be part of this historic transition, and I welcomed Secretary Clinton’s active participation at the meeting. Her presence and the presence of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and other public and private sector Board members signal the importance of MCC’s ongoing commitment to delivering change in the lives of the world’s poor.
Board members demonstrated their firm resolve to address the needs of the poor. They faced difficult decisions, and they engaged in a thoughtful debate about the best way forward. Given the importance they place on these issues, the Board decided to convene an extraordinary interim review session to discuss ongoing concerns regarding Nicaragua and Armenia. The Board’s deliberate approach reaffirms MCC’s commitment to sound policy performance as a fundamental prerequisite for receiving U.S. development dollars. Long-term economic development and poverty reduction can best take root in countries where the policy conditions are conducive for growth, and governments themselves are committed to reform.
Secretary Clinton has already spoken of the important role development plays in defining America’s global reputation and in advancing President Obama’s foreign policy goals. The Administration’s strong international affairs budget for fiscal year 2010 is matching this rhetoric. It will allocate the resources necessary to achieve the results that matter in the fight against global poverty.
With the Board’s continued leadership and a budget that allows us to fulfill our mission, MCC’s partner countries can pursue country-sourced and country-driven programs that are foundational to reducing poverty and stimulating economic growth in significant and sustainable ways.