It is a great privilege to be with all of you, particularly our esteemed guest from the great country of Tanzania—President Kikwete.
I’d like to thank President Hamre for his outstanding leadership and CSIS for creating a unique space for strategic thinking and policy solutions that define the challenges of our times. And I want to applaud Jennifer Cooke for her leadership of the Africa Program.
President Kikwete and Tanzania represent the future of Africa, a continent on the move toward greater prosperity and opportunity.
As we prepare to mark Africa Day next week, it is fitting that we should celebrate the principles and progress that unite Africans today. The headlines more and more talk about what is right in Africa.
We see countries achieving rapid growth; we know that seven of the world’s ten fastest growing economies are in Sub-Saharan Africa. Economic forecasts suggest that the average African economy will outpace its Asian counterpart.
We see countries working toward good governance and the rule of law; while recent events in Mali and Guinea Bissau deeply trouble us, Zambia, Niger, Senegal, and Malawi remind us that across the continent democracy has taken root and is growing. And Africa now has two female Presidents, something my own country has yet to achieve.
And, we see African countries committed to replacing development assistance with the investment generated by private enterprise; Africa is a pro-growth market, and foreign direct investment is about 80 billion dollars now and expected to reach 150 billion dollars by 2015.
Africa’s moment is now.
The Millennium Challenge Corporation understands this reality. The vast majority of our worldwide investments are with African partner countries. When MCC was founded 8 years ago, some doubted that many African countries would qualify for our program. Africa has proven them wrong! In fact, I just returned on Sunday from signing our latest agreement on the continent, this time with Zambia to transform their water and sanitation sector. In all, MCC has signed compacts with 14 African countries, which are putting nearly $6 billion—more than two-thirds of our portfolio—toward their homegrown solutions for long-term growth and poverty reduction.
Tanzania, too, is an MCC partner country. It is where we have made our largest investment in Sub-Saharan Africa. I visited Tanzania to see for myself the progress underway on our $698 million investment aimed at raising incomes by improving the transportation, energy and water systems.
President Kikwete has been instrumental to the success of Tanzania’s MCC compact. I am telling you: He knows every detail of the compact! And, we share the same principles when it comes to our partnership:
Our partnership is about a country-driven program—designed by and for the people of Tanzania—to reduce poverty and promote sustainable economic growth.
It is about making the tough and necessary policy reforms that assure long-term sustainability.
It is about creating an environment where the private sector can thrive as the engine of growth.
It is about being transparent about what is—and is not—working to deliver the results both Tanzanians and Americans expect from this investment.
I am extremely proud of MCC’s partnership with Tanzania.
It stands as a pillar in the strong bilateral ties between the United States and Tanzania.
It stands as an example of Africa on the move toward a better, brighter future of prosperity.
As the first African president to be received by President Barack Obama at the White House in May of 2009, I am honored now to once again welcome back to Washington Tanzania’s visionary leader. Please join me in welcoming President Jakaya Kikwete to the podium. Mr. President…