Today I witnessed an historic moment. To a hushed United Nations Millennium Development Goals assembly of world leaders, President Obama unveiled the U.S. Global Development Policy, the first of any American administration. In his speech, he also addressed head-on what is likely on the minds of many Americans: Why, during difficult economic times at home, should we have such a policy? The answer: Investing in global development is not just a good thing; it’s a strategic and economic imperative.
The President emphasized the fundamental tenets of sustainable development: Partner with select countries willing to take the lead and invest in broad-based economic growth through transparent and mutually-accountable ways that tap the talents of all their people and unleash transformational change. And, he defined “development” as more than just aid, which, while an important ingredient, won’t drive sustained growth as much as trade and investment. The speech is a bold call and now, collectively, U.S. Government agencies, working with partners in the private sector and nongovernmental community, need to respond.
I am extremely excited that MCC’s work is a key part of the Obama administration’s action plan on global development. As the President said in his speech, “Building in part on the lessons of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, which has helped countries like El Salvador build rural roads and raise the incomes of its people, we will invest in the capacity of countries that are proving their commitment to development.â€ MCC has six years of experience testing and implementing the principles at the center of the President’s policy: investing in economic growth, promoting country-led development, demanding accountability, and focusing on transparency and concrete results.
President Obama made it clear that the United States will be a global leader in international development in the 21st century. I am thrilled to be part of an administration and U.S. Government agency that recognizes that America’s security and prosperity are inextricably linked to the security and prosperity of all countries, particularly the world’s poorest. MCC has contributed, and will continue contributing, to this leadership agenda, sharing what it has learned, forging smart and deliberate collaboration with others, and pushing the boundaries of innovative development assistance.