Thank you, Mr. Silva, for that kind introduction.
Friends of El Salvador,
It is great to join you to mark the completion of El Salvador’s compact!
Congratulations to the people of El Salvador for working with such passion and purpose to complete the $460 million compact with the U.S. Government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation. Felicidades!
As you know, there is nothing easy about being an MCC partner country. When I had the opportunity to visit El Salvador in 2010, I was struck by how committed the country was to deliver on the promise of the compact. This means making the difficult reforms to promote sound economic and democratic governance.This means being accountable and transparent. And, this means delivering results that will reduce poverty and advance economic growth.
The results we see in El Salvador at the completion of the MCC compact are making a difference. Based on the preliminary findings of an independent impact evaluation, within one year of receiving assistance, dairy farmers increased their annual productive income by an estimated $1,850 on average, compared to those who did not receive assistance. An estimated 17,500 smallholder producers who received training, seeds, equipment, and technical assistance have worked to improve over 23,000 hectares. Over 28,000 families are connected to the electricity grid, and we thank AES for its role in “turning on the lights” in El Salvador. And, 220 kilometers of rehabilitated or newly constructed roads will be completed in northern El Salvador. This is equivalent to the distance between Washington and Philadelphia. The improvements are expected to reduce travel time by 50 percent – from 12 hours to six hours.
Through these compact results, the Northern Zone is being transformed for the better. It is becoming part of an integrated, stronger El Salvador.
I want to thank Technical Secretary Alex Segovia and all the other officials within the Government of El Salvador for their outstanding leadership, including the leadership of President Funes. I want to thank FOMILENIO for managing the compact’s implementation in El Salvador with such professionalism. I am pleased that FOMILENIO’s Executive Director Jose Angel Quiros could join us along with Communications Director Carmen Vergara. Let’s give these special guests from El Salvador a round of applause!
I am also pleased that Vince Ruddy, MCC’s fantastic Resident Country Director in El Salvador, and his able deputy Preston Winter are here, and I would be remiss if I also did not mention the hard work of Kenny Miller, who served as the deputy in El Salvador for most of the compact’s life before accepting the director position in Cape Verde. And, I want to thank all the MCC staff present here who worked in partnership with their counterparts in El Salvador on the success of the compact.
It is often said that an ending is really a beginning.What has ended in El Salvador with the completion of the MCC compact must be the beginning of new partnerships and new opportunities for growth. To sustain and build upon our results, we call on the private sector to explore investing in El Salvador, which sits at the crossroads for trade and commerce. We call on the Salvadoran diaspora to get involved and be a part of the renewal of the Northern Zone and the country as a whole.
As we celebrate the achievements of El Salvador’s first MCC compact, we are also encouraged that the country is among the very few to be eligible for a second compact. I am optimistic that El Salvador will work hard to retain that eligibility and develop a solid proposal for another compact that MCC’s Board of Directors can consider as soon as possible.
I share the pride of so many Salvadorans who are pleased with what the MCC-El Salvador partnership has achieved so far. May the opportunities now available in the Northern Zone—and the rest of El Salvador—continue to multiply for generations to come and usher in greater prosperity and progress.