Remarks by MCC Senior Advisor Cassandra Butts in Mongolia
Official Compact Closure Event with the Government of Mongolia
September 9, 2013, Mongolia
Distinguished Members of the Cabinet and Ministers,
Members of the Board of MCA-Mongolia,
MCA-Mongolia CEO Mr. Batbaatar,
Colleagues from MCA-Mongolia,
I have spent the last few days in Mongolia seeing for myself what the compact partnership between this great country and the U.S. Government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation has achieved to reduce poverty and promote economic growth. From all that I have seen—from all my conversations with you and the beneficiaries of compact projects—I can say that MCC’s 285 million dollar investment is making a difference.
Because of your tremendous work and leadership, the compact is contributing to greater economic activity by investing in vocational and technical training to create the skilled workforce of tomorrow. Over 12,600 students—male and female—have benefited from MCC-supported training.
It is improving property rights by helping poor households obtain title to land in the ger districts and herders secure long-term leases on pastureland.
It is helping Mongolians become healthier and more productive by tackling non-communicable diseases and injuries. Over 15,600 health workers have been trained in this area.
It is reducing air pollution by helping Mongolians adopt energy-efficient technologies and helping develop this country’s first commercial wind farm. For example, more than 97,700 energy-efficient stoves are now in operation.
And, the compact is facilitating greater trade and access to services with the official opening of the major north-south all-weather road that I attended last Thursday.
We also developed a rigorous monitoring and evaluation system in order to learn from our projects and hold ourselves accountable for measuring results. Your efforts have made all this possible. So, let me share two thoughts with you.
First, I want to thank each of you for the work you have done to complete Mongolia’s MCC compact. MCC’s Chief Executive Officer, Daniel Yohannes, asked me to share his congratulations and gratitude for a job well done. We both specifically acknowledge the tremendous dedication and outstanding professionalism of MCA-Mongolia, who overcame a number of challenges, including the unexpected passing of your former CEO in the final year of the compact. MCA-Mongolia is clearly deserving of much praise for such extraordinary commitment to finishing the compact.
Second, I want to challenge you to sustain the successes of your completed MCC compact. I realize that your work has been hard. Now, the focus must turn to sustainability. This requires making ongoing policy reforms. It requires a constant commitment to gender integration and to projects that adhere to international environmental standards. And, it means finding ways to partner with the private sector as the ultimate engine of economic growth.
Chinggis Khan once said, “One arrow alone can be easily broken but many arrows are indestructible.” Your shared vision and collective actions—your strong unity of mission and purpose—create the indestructible arrows that are winning the fight against poverty and creating a life of greater opportunity for your fellow citizens. During my time in Mongolia, I have seen this firsthand. I ask you now to sustain what has been achieved in order to usher in an even more hopeful future of prosperity and growth for all the people of Mongolia.
Congratulations, and thank you so much! Bayarlalaa.