Today, MCC welcomed former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to our Washington headquarters to commemorate an important milestone that helps us accomplish our mission to reduce poverty and improve the lives of our friends and partners in Africa. The signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with AGRA will allow our organizations to achieve more at a time when food security issues are a top priority in the fight against poverty. Mr. Annan and I agree that implementing long-term, country-based solutions to foster agricultural growth is key to reversing the current food crisis in a sustainable way. By joining forces on this front, we are helping to deepen the commitment to the work already underway in our partner countries, from reforming agricultural sectors to investing in fundamental rural infrastructure. I invite you to learn more about what our local partners and experts agree are closely linked aspects of food security and poverty reduction that demand our attention.
Mr. Annan’s cooperation with MCC, and his words of encouragement for MCC’s mission, are the latest in a growing chorus of support for the results we are seeing on the ground. President Bush, a bipartisan group of Senators, and groups like the Center for Global Development, InterAction, Freedom House, and the U.S. Global Leadership Council have been sending a clear message of support to Congress over the past few weeks. As CEO of an agency helping to change the conversation about the way the U.S. can help address poverty, I am encouraged to see support from the many champions of those who live on less than $2 a day. We agree with them that poverty isn’t political-it’s about policy, not politics.
The various memoranda of understanding MCC has signed recently are much more than mere paper or policy declarations. We are seeking ways to leverage the resources of those in the private sector (such as GE and Microsoft), of those with in-depth, on-the-ground knowledge in places like Africa (as is the case with DfID and AGRA), and of those who can help us find a diverse, talented workforce (as with the Phelps-Stokes Fund) in order to achieve our goals. I have asked that each of these memoranda of understanding be available to the public on our website so that you can see how MCC works to augment U.S. taxpayer money with additional initiatives. Only by engaging and working together with groups like these can we prevent duplication, improve the impact of each kilometer of road or irrigation, and help our partners attract long-term growth opportunities. MCC is just one tool in the toolbox to help address global poverty. We can accomplish much more by working together, and I welcome your input to help identify those working relationships that will help us achieve these goals.