Posted on May 25, 2010 by Daniel W. Yohannes, MCC CEO
Africa Day celebrates African unity and the continent’s progress toward greater prosperity. MCC invests in sustainable development for the people of Africa through more than 70 percent or $5 billion of our entire portfolio. MCC works with African partners who show a commitment to good governance. We support local solutions aimed at reducing poverty by stimulating economic growth and delivering results that matter in the lives of the citizens of our partner nations. MCC-Africa partnerships increase agricultural productivity, build critical infrastructure, and invest in healthy, educated societies that make for a productive workforce.
These significant public sector milestones in turn create an environment that stimulates private sector investment. When I visited Ghana, for example, I met pineapple farmers who took advantage of MCC investments to expand sales of their crops. Now, major agribusinesses are looking to supply their European markets from MCC-supported farms. Trade like this will support steady jobs and incomes for Ghanaians.
In February, I visited Cape Verde where MCC funds will modernize the Port of Praia. This port handles half the island nation’s cargo, and these MCC-sponsored improvements will substantially increase economic activity and trade. And, later this week, I travel to Tanzania to break ground on an MCC-funded project to connect the seaport of Tanga to Horohoro. This highway will reduce transportation costs and boost trade between Tanzania and Kenya, by open access to the port of Mombasa. This project will spur business development, create new jobs, and become an important national and regional asset that will reduce poverty through sustained economic growth.
MCC also has launched an innovative Agribusiness Development Initiative in Morocco and Ghana to encourage private businesses to invest around MCC-funded sector activities. In Ghana, MiDA, the local entity responsible for implementing Ghana’s MCC compact, is working with VegPro, a Kenyan-based exporter. VegPro is initially leasing a 250-hectare farm adjacent to the compact’s irrigation perimeter and plans to export vegetables from Ghanaian farmers to Europe, allowing MiDA-trained farmers to have direct market access for their product. In Morocco, APP-Maroc, the local entity implementing the country’s MCC compact, recently highlighted compact-related agricultural business opportunities for investors in the olive oil, table olives, and dates value chains at the Meknes Agricultural Fair, one of Africa’s largest agricultural fairs. MCC’s website will soon feature a page that will provide businesses with a centralized source of information for these opportunities to assist both MiDA and APP-Maroc continue their investment promotion activities.
MCC’s development assistance can empower entrepreneurs, attract businesses and investors, and ignite market-led growth. This facilitates the transition from assistance to investment, which cultivates self-reliance and accelerates Africa’s growth. MCC continues to involve the private sector in all stages of our work—in designing and building the programs we fund, in investing alongside our projects, and in exploring financing models to ensure the sustainability of our investments.
MCC commits to effective partnerships with African countries that embrace sound polices and strategies for growth of the private sector. With this approach, Africa will prosper and celebrate its best days yet.
Posted on May 3, 2010 by Martin Ochoa, MCA Honduras General Director
On Friday April 23, 2010, MCA-Honduras, the local entity implementing Hondurasâ€™s MCC compact, informed several stakeholders about the results from investments made in the Aguan Valley in northern Honduras. The results were shared at the inauguration of one of the three secondary roads that are being rehabilitated with MCC funds. The event showcased the compactâ€™s integrated approach to the links between economic growth and poverty reduction.
The Honduras compact invests in farmer training and development, provides access to credit by following a market-driven approach, and rehabilitates key roads. MCA-Honduras invested over US $13 million in the Aguan Valley alone, benefitting nine municipalities and more than 200 families. MCA-Honduras is also contributing to the eradication of med-fly, a deadly crop disease that is affecting over 350,000 hectares of land.
Farmers at the event were excited about how they are able to produce higher-value crops, such as eggplants, watermelon, and peppers that they can now sell for higher prices. As Celso Alvarenga said, â€œI am very happy with my irrigation system; my yucca and plantains now have sufficient water to grow quickly. Thanks to the technical assistance received, I produce higher yields, new crops, and am extremely thankful for MCA-Honduras.â€ Thanks to the MCC compact, farmers like Celso throughout Honduras have learned how to use drip irrigation and no longer fear droughts like they did before.
Beyond the investments made in this region, the event highlighted three important facts about the MCC model and MCA-Hondurasâ€™s success. First, transparency counts. Second, the program is providing credible tangible results. And, third, this is a country-driven approach to development assistance. These three factors are helping create opportunities for Hondurans all over the country. MCC investments are bringing positive change and hope that Hondurans can improve our lives.
For those of us implementing the MCA-Honduras program, it is a great honor to be among the agents of change.