Mr. Prime Minister,
It is my great privilege and pleasure to return to this beautiful country and be with all of you to sign a compact between the U.S. Government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation and Georgia. I bring warm greetings from the American people as we gather to mark another milestone in the close and friendly relations between our two countries with the signing of Georgia’s second MCC compact. Ours is a strong alliance—built on shared values—and this compact is further proof of our partnership.
MCC invests in development solutions that help countries grow.
• We do this by listening to the priorities of our partners, and developing and implementing projects in partnership.
• We do this by practicing sound policies, grounded in good economic and democratic governance.
• And, we do this by focusing on accountability and transparency to deliver sustainable results.
By addressing key constraints to economic growth, our investments are designed to raise incomes and promote private sector growth.
In Georgia, MCC consistently finds a partner that understands our approach to development. Together, we successfully completed a first compact that reconstructed a major highway, improved energy and water security and supported agri-businesses. The compact we sign today is a $140 million investment in another area of critical importance for long-term economic growth: the education of Georgia’s workforce.
This, of course, makes sense. Compared to the priorities of 2005 when basic infrastructure was required for economic growth, today’s analysis conducted by the Georgian government found that a major constraint to economic growth is the quality of human capital, particularly in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. To equip Georgians with the education and skills they need to succeed, this compact invests in three projects.
First, it will improve the quality of general education by rehabilitating schools, training educators and school managers and supporting education assessments.
Second, it will improve the link between the technical skills the market demands and the supply of Georgians who have those skills.
Third, it seeks to attract one or more university partners to offer high-quality degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math.
Through our partnership, our two countries have made investing in the education of the next generation a priority. From the start of a student’s general education to graduation from technical training and advanced degree programs, this compact will improve the quality of education in Georgia in the disciplines that define a modern economy. This includes educating women, too, for careers in science, technology, engineering, and math. All this will make the Georgian workforce more productive, increase their earning potential and open up new employment opportunities. And, as Georgian students enter the workforce, I hope that private sector partners—many of whom I met yesterday—will accelerate the economic growth that will make Georgia an even stronger partner for commerce and trade in this region of the world and beyond.
While I congratulate the people and government of Georgia on developing this compact to invest in a better-educated workforce, the challenge now is to fully implement its projects—on time, on budget and with a constant focus on quality and results. And, Georgia’s ongoing commitment to sound democratic governance is critical for the success of our partnership and this compact.
I also believe that Georgia’s second MCC compact offers the opportunity for broader engagement beyond just our two governments. That is why I ask all of you—as leaders, teachers, parents, associations, communities, and corporations—to join us in this endeavor. Improving education is a challenge for all of us, everywhere. By meeting this challenge, we will deliver sustainable, life-changing results that will define a future of greater prosperity in Georgia. Thank you very much.