Opening Remarks at the 2009 RCD Conference Public Outreach Event

Thank you, Jonathan, and good afternoon, everyone.  Welcome to the headquarters of the Millennium Challenge Corporation.  We are delighted to see such a full house, and we appreciate your ongoing interest in MCC’s work to reduce poverty through economic growth around the world.

As many of you know, President Obama recently nominated Mr. Daniel Yohannes as the next CEO of MCC.  As a successful entrepreneur, banker, and philanthropist, who grew up in one of the poorest countries in the world, Mr. Yohannes has a tremendous portfolio of experience that will certainly serve the future of MCC well, if he is confirmed by the Senate.  And, we do wish him a very speedy confirmation process.  

One of the hallmarks of the MCC model is our firm commitment to country-led development.  We believe that MCC’s development dollars will do the most good in the fight against entrenched poverty if they are invested in homegrown strategies built from within partner countries, not imposed upon them from outside.  For this reason, MCC’s presence in the countries where we have signed compacts is extremely small, limited to just one resident country director, one deputy resident country director, and, in some cases, a few locally recruited staff members. 

We are pleased to have these resident country directors and their deputies from around the world join us this week at MCC headquarters to participate in

  • technical training,
  • an intensive exchange of lessons learned and best practices that feed into our action plans for the year ahead, and
  • this afternoon’s conversation with all of you.

Though limited in size, the duties of the resident country mission are substantial. 

  • Resident country directors are responsible for managing all MCC activities and relations in their assigned countries and overseeing compact implementation.
  • RCDs serve as the primary point of outreach to other donors, the local and international NGO community, the press, the private sector, think tanks, universities, and other organizations interested in the partner country’s MCC program.
  • And, as appropriate, RCDs also represent the MCC country program to the U.S. Embassy, the inspector general, the Government Accountability Office, congressional staff, and other oversight organizations.

In short, RCDs and deputy RCDs are extremely impressive professionals who represent MCC so ably around the world.  Their proven abilities to coordinate actions, leverage resources, forge common ground are a testament not only to their experience and expertise but also to their deeply-held conviction that we can, in fact, make a meaningful difference in the lives of the world’s poor.

This afternoon’s forum showcases MCC’s ongoing commitment to transparency and accountability in this fight against global poverty, and to keeping our stakeholders well-informed as to the progress unfolding in partner countries worldwide.  Access to our RCDs and their deputies provides tangible, firsthand insights into developments on-the-ground. These individuals are clearly on the "front-lines” of development, and we want them to be valuable resources of information to you in your work too.

I wish you all fruitful exchanges and productive conversations here this afternoon.  I’d remind you that the lines of communication are open not just at events like this, but at all times, and we welcome your ongoing involvement with and feedback on MCC’s work.  MCC is constantly learning and growing, and your feedback helps us do that.  With that open invitation, let me turn the microphone over to our resident country directors and deputy resident country directors to introduce themselves…

Thank you!