Washington, DC— Daniel W. Yohannes, CEO of the U.S. Government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), today delivered the keynote address at a luncheon marking the final day of the 2011 African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum in Lusaka, Zambia. Audience members included government delegates from the United States and Africa and leaders from the private sector and civil society. At the event, Mr. Yohannes was introduced by the Honorable Mark Storella, U.S. Ambassador to Zambia.
In his remarks, Mr. Yohannes offered an assessment of the state of development efforts in Africa, discussed his views on promoting prosperity on the continent, and called for a renewed commitment to the goal of expanded trade and economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa.
“MCC shares much in common with AGOA,” stated Mr. Yohannes. “Both are dynamic U.S. Government tools, focused on promoting good governance and on creating incentives for long-lasting growth. Both are committed to raising incomes and to creating new opportunities to help Africans escape poverty. And both represent the strong partnership between the United States and Africa.”
Since its creation in 2004, MCC has partnered with 23 countries, investing nearly $8 billion in the fight against poverty. Nearly two-thirds of MCC funds are dedicated to partner countries in Africa. Zambia has been selected as eligible for an MCC Compact, and is in the process of developing a new five-year compact focused on clean water and sustainable tourism.
MCC’s investments in Africa total approximately $5.5 billion – or about 70% of MCC’s investments worldwide. These investments are expected to benefit roughly 40 million people in African partner countries, raising incomes by over $8.8 billion over the life of those investments.
Mr. Yohannes said, “During the last decade, six of the world’s ten fastest growing economies were in Sub-Saharan Africa. Over the next five years, predictions suggest that the average African economy will outpace its Asian counterpart. And, the number of households with discretionary income is projected to rise by 50 percent over the next ten years.”
He continued, “Supporting African development through MCC means a lot to me. We face real challenges. But if Africans seize the moment, and if we can make use of tools like MCC and AGOA, I am confident that, together, we can build a prosperous future in Africa and help achieve the dreams of this great continent.”
The 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. For more information, please visit www.mcc.gov.
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