Leaders and staff of FOMILENIO,
Muchas gracias por su bienvenida a El Salvador! This is my first trip to the Americas as MCC’s CEO, and I am proud to be in a country that is a model partner of the U.S. Government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation. Here in El Salvador, we see a commitment to sound policies, to accountability, and to results that is critical to maximizing the impact of MCC’s 461 million dollar compact investment.
This compact is an expression of the friendship and cooperation between our two countries. As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said when she was in San Salvador last June for President Funes’s inauguration, the U.S.-El Salvador partnership is committed to finding “common solutions for our common challenges.” Our partnership to fight poverty is one such common solution.
Yesterday, I had the great privilege of joining President Funes to inaugurate the National Institute of San Ignacio. The rehabilitation of this technical school was made possible through the MCC compact. Today, I am equally honored to be in the Northern Zone to mark the start of another MCC-funded project: the construction of this community college here in Chalatenango.
When the people of El Salvador partnered with MCC, they determined that their long-term development depends on investments in education in the short-term. That is why El Salvador’s MCC compact includes funding for:
- student scholarships for technical and vocational education,
- teacher training, and
- school rehabilitation and construction.
And, that is why 6.1 million dollars is being invested in this community college, to expand educational opportunities for the students in the Northern Zone—young men and young women.
Citizens need skills and training to be productive members of society and to contribute to a thriving economy. By learning the right skills, Salvadorans are making a crucial investment in their abilities to
- find good paying jobs,
- contribute to key sectors of the economy,
- promote economic growth in their country, and
- reduce poverty.
The college we begin to construct today is more than just a building; it is a gateway to opportunity for the students who study here. This is especially true for students in the Northern Zone, where the average level of schooling is 3.6 years, more than 1.5 years lower than the rest of the country. Estimates show that a technical education will increase job opportunities and raise incomes by as much as 30 percent or more.
El Salvador’s commitment to education through its MCC compact is part of a much larger, integrated development strategy to change the lives of the poor for the better. The compact also invests in other public services, agricultural produc¬tion, rural business development, and the Northern Transnational Highway. These development priorities transcend politics to deliver tangible results that will improve the quality of life for El Salvador’s poor, today and well into the future. They create a stronger economy in El Salvador, and an anchor of growth for the region and for the Western Hemisphere.
The hard work and commitment to accountability that brought us this far in the completion of El Salvador’s compact must continue—with the same drive, determination, and focus. The pace of progress must continue toward the compact’s full implementation.
- I commend the people of El Salvador for keeping their government accountable for delivering results from the compact.
- I welcome working with President Funes and his Administration. Support for the compact and the principles of good governance create conditions for growth.
- I appreciate the support from local mayors and councils for El Salvador’s MCC compact. Your vigilance ensures that the compact delivers what it promises.
- I also applaud the hard work of FOMILENIO—its board, its management, and its staff—for implementing El Salvador’s compact in such a timely and effective way.
Today’s groundbreaking for the construction of the community college of Chalatenango shows how the compact is making a difference in the lives of Salvadorans—a difference that will increase their economic opportunities, their incomes, and their future prosperity. That is the hope of the entire compact, and MCC stands in partnership with El Salvador to translate that hope into the genuine reality of sustainable prosperity.
Muchas gracias y les deseo todo lo mejor! Sigamos adelante!