Washington, D.C. Ambassador John J. Danilovich, CEO of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, today testified before Congress on the agencys Fiscal Year 2009 budget request. At the hearing, Ambassador Danilovich thanked the subcommittee members for their ongoing support of MCC.
Fully funding MCC at the Presidents requested level of $2.225 billion will allow us to continue our efforts and consolidate early successes to reduce poverty in developing countries committed to good governance, investing in their people, and economic freedom, Ambassador Danilovich said at the hearing of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations.
The agencys FY 2009 request reaffirms President Bushs continued commitment to promoting sustainable economic growth in the developing world and represents a substantial increase$680 million, or 46 percent above the FY 2008 enacted level.
Ambassador Danilovich added, The funds you have provided so far are yielding tangible results. Today, partner countries are using MCC investments to issue land titles, increase farmer incomes, create jobs, build roads, open health clinics and contain the spread of HIV/AIDS and other diseases, construct girl-friendly schools, expand vocational training, strengthen financial services and access to credit, and improve access to water and sanitation services. Moreover, MCC is incentivizing countries to make policy reforms that lead to better governance.
MCC has established an impressive portfolio of partner countries, with $5.5 billion committed to 16 countries worldwide, and we are working hard to develop compacts in FY 2009 with countries such as Moldova, Jordan and the newly-eligible Malawi, the Ambassador stated. The requested $2.225 billion funding level will support the priorities I have set for MCC in the coming year, including accelerating our progress on the ground, building the capacity of our partner countries to effectively implement our programs, fostering growth in the private sector, and fully focusing on results.
Over the past year, Ambassador Danilovich has reorganized the agency to deliver more progress on the ground with greater speed. We are focused on accelerating disbursements, Ambassador Danilovich said. This is happening as more and more projects move from design to implementation, and we increase the capacity of our partner countries by helping them complete what are often large, complex infrastructure projects.
The Ambassador also outlined steps MCC is taking to carefully manage the current external economic pressures that face all development agencies around the world as well as U.S. state and local governments such as dollar depreciation, increasing energy and transport prices, and a worldwide construction boom.
To further increase incentives for good policy performance and good implementation practices with partner countries, Ambassador Danilovich told the Members of the Subcommittee that this year MCC will be seeking Congressional authorization for the ability to establish concurrent compacts.
In his concluding remarks, Ambassador Danilovich stated, MCC is an innovative, creative, and dynamic example of Americas smart power, rooted in accountability and country ownership. It is a performance-based, results-oriented model of American diplomacy and development assistance. MCC is demanding of its partner countries, but American taxpayers should not hesitate to be demanding when providing generous grants to developing countries seeking to pull themselves out of poverty.
With full funding, MCC will be able to develop compacts with new countries working hard to partner with us. It is only with the continued support of Congress that we can continue our work to motivate policy reforms, fight corruption, help countries strengthen their critical institutions, engage women, and pave the way for greater private enterprise engagement in the developing world.
Full text of the testimony as submitted for the record is available at http://www.mcc.gov/documents/testimony-022608-houseappropssubcmte.pdf.
The fact sheet regarding MCCs budget request is available at
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Millennium Challenge Corporation, a U.S. government agency designed to work with developing countries, is based on the principle that aid is most effective when it reinforces sound political, economic, and social policies that promote poverty reduction through economic growth.