Remarks by MCC CEO Daniel W. Yohannes at Private Sector Stakeholders Panel Discussion

Thank you! This has been a fascinating discussion, and I am glad that I could listen in and hear for myself how much progress is underway to increase the private sector’s role in Lesotho.

Before accepting President Obama’s call to lead the Millennium Challenge Corporation, I spent 30 years working in the private sector. So, I understand firsthand how the private sector is the engine of growth, job creation and innovation. To achieve our shared goal of poverty reduction through economic growth, we need a strong and vibrant private sector.

It is no coincidence, therefore, that the people of Lesotho decided to invest a part of their $363 million MCC compact—which also invests in water and health systems—to increase private sector economic activity. With the upcoming completion of the Lesotho-MCC compact this September, I am here now to see what has been accomplished through our partnership.

And, from what I heard today, I am pleased and impressed with what you are doing to support private enterprise. The projects discussed here today matter as they:
• help women entrepreneurs succeed and expand their contributions to the economy;
• engage banks and improve access to credit; and
• secure rights to land. As a former banker, I know that a reliable and secure property rights system is as much a part of a country’s essential infrastructure as a road or an irrigation system.

As you continue to deepen these efforts, even beyond the life of your compact, I would ask you to remember two key things:

First, the private sector is a true partner in development. We need businesses to advocate for the right policy reforms and the right investments.

And, second, we need the private sector for sustainability. We want the private sector to add to and build upon MCC’s development investments. This is how we can strengthen economies and improve the lives of the poor.

As partners for sustainable development, I welcome all Lesotho has done—and will continue to do—to deepen and expand the role of the private sector in achieving a future of greater growth and prosperity. Thank you very much.