Mr. Minister: What an honor for you to join us this morning.
Chargé McGeehan: Thank you for that kind introduction.
Administrators, faculty and students of the Namavambi School
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a profound pleasure to join you for the hand-over ceremony for this and other renovated and expanded schools in the Kavango region! Thank you so much for such a warm welcome.
As the new CEO of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, I am committed to the success of our partnerships around the world. MCC marks its 10th anniversary this year, and this gives us the perfect occasion to review the past decade to better understand what really makes our partnerships work … and work well.
And I chose Namibia as the first partner country to visit as CEO because you serve as a shining example of all the good that is possible when we work together effectively.
The many results coming out of the 304 million U.S. dollar compact between Namibia and MCC to fight poverty and promote economic growth—including the expansion and renovation of the schools in this region—prove that our partnership is, in fact, working … and working well.
Our partnership is working for Namibians, who want a better quality of life and a future of greater opportunity.
Our partnership is also working for the American people, who want to see their investments here in Namibia and elsewhere deliver results as promised.
Seeing this school in action, I can return to the American people and tell them that our investment in Namibia has been well-spent.
I can also tell them that this school is more than desks and wonderful textbooks. In three fundamental ways, this school is a symbol of the strong partnership between the governments and peoples of Namibia and the United States.
First, it shows that we value education. As a mother, it is incredibly important to me that my two sons realize their potential through a good education. I know that mothers and fathers in Namibia feel the same way for their sons and daughters.
Education is an indispensable building block for a life of opportunity, self-sufficiency and greater income. Education today equips the workforce of tomorrow with the skills and knowledge they need to compete and succeed in a modern Namibian economy and fuel the growth that helps families, communities and a country thrive. What I have seen here today in my tour of this school and what I have heard in my conversations with both teachers and learners, I know you too recognize the power of education to drive growth and opportunity.
This school is among the 47 selected for renovation and expansion through Namibia’s MCC compact, creating much improved places for learning. The schools are being equipped with computers and smart boards, giving learners access to the Internet and a world of additional information.
By providing science equipment and expanding science instruction in all primary and secondary schools, learners are exploring chemistry, biology and other natural sciences.
By delivering over 1.7 million new textbooks to this and all schools in Namibia, every Namibian learner now has a textbook of his or her own.
These extraordinary investments in education made possible through the Namibia-MCC compact are building a pathway to opportunity. I would encourage all the learners I have met here today to respect the science and technology equipment, the textbooks and the new classrooms. Treat these resources with great care so that those who come after you can benefit from them as well.
Second, this school shows that we value collaboration. Let there be no mistake about this: While the American people paid to rebuild and equip schools in this region, the Namibian people prioritized education as key for economic growth.
MCC’s model for partnership puts Namibians in the lead of their own development, and we are here to support the programs you design and you implement to jumpstart growth in your country.
So, I thank the exceptional leadership and dedicated staff of MCA-Namibia for diligently implementing the whole compact, including the investments in education that have renovated this school and others like it.
Third, this school shows that we value sustainable results. Our partnership delivered tangible results not just in expanding education for Namibians, but also in expanding the productivity of Namibians working in agriculture and ecotourism.
Consider how conservancies and ecotourism operators pursued joint ventures that have provided training, created jobs and increased the incomes of conservancy members. The private sector, after all, is the ultimate creator of jobs and driver of growth.
And the right investments coupled with the right reforms in policies and institutions have created a strong foundation for sustainable change.
For example, the change in policy that led to the Vocational Education and Training Levy provides a way to invest in this country’s workers that will sustain the commitment to workforce development started with the compact.
What is important now is for Namibians to maintain the momentum toward fully completing their compact to fully realize the benefits of economic growth.
In these ways, today we celebrate so much more than just this school.
Ours is also a celebration of an effective partnership that is delivering on its promise.
So, I thank all of you for playing a big part in turning that promise into the reality of a brighter and more hopeful future for Namibians, starting with the boys and girls who will learn and study in this new and modern school.
Thank you so much.