Posts Tagged ‘Millennium Challenge Corporation’

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Remarks to the Millennium Challenge Corporation


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Millennium Challenge Corporation
Washington, DC
November 27, 2012

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, all. Thank you. Well, it’s wonderful to be here and to have this opportunity to tell you in person how much I value the work that you do every day. I’m aware that it’s not only those of you in this room that are part of this event today, but also by video conference and those who are calling in from around the world. And my first and most important message is how proud I am of you and how grateful I am for what you are doing, which truly has made the differences that Daniel has just briefly outlined.

For the past four years, and then before that as a senator, I’ve had the privilege of supporting MCC and seen the impact of the work that you do on the ground. I’ve joined your CEO in several occasions signing new compacts and have certainly seen the impact that that has had on the way that governments have prepared and organized themselves in order to be successful.

So today we are welcomed in 35 countries. People around the world are eager to partner with MCC and even willing to try to meet the standards that have been devised for such a partnership. And that speaks volumes about the work that all of you and your predecessors have done to establish a new approach to development as part of America’s foreign policy agenda.

I remember last year Daniel and I were in Tanzania, standing in front of what looked like, because it was, a huge jet engine, and getting ready to symbolically throw the switch on a new power plant that would provide reliable electricity for thousands of nearby homes, businesses, and hospitals. I remember thinking about what a wonderful metaphor that was, because we truly were turning on opportunity, turning on the chance that would be given to people to be able to make more of their own lives, helping Tanzanians tap into their own power so their country could grow and prosper.

And that’s really true with what you do everywhere. I’ve seen the solar projects in El Salvador that are helping to light small homes and provide a connectivity to the outside world that had not been there before. I’ve supported strongly the cause of helping Jordan conserve and recycle water for use, finding ways to spur green growth in Indonesia, and so much more.

Now, in addition to what you’ve done around the world, you’ve also had a big impact here at home. MCC’s model showcases some of our best thinking about how to do development for the 21st century, and has helped to set the stage for the Administration’s approach for development, because at a time when we must look for the way to maximize the impact of every dollar that we spend on development, we often turn to MCC for information and inspiration.

As Daniel said, in this Administration under President Obama, we’ve tried to put forth a new policy on development that really focuses on results, and MCC has been one of the foundational institutions that has given us the base for moving forward. We are working to put ourselves out of business, to hasten the day when countries no longer need foreign assistance. So we are pursuing country-owned efforts that are led, implemented, and eventually paid for by a nation’s own government, communities, civil society, and private sector.

That’s really the path that MCC has helped to blaze, because you work directly with governments to identify development priorities and to design country-specific plans that are backed by hard data. You put a focus on building local capacity and rewarding good governance, an approach that we are building on in all of our development work, including major programs like the Global Health Initiative and Feed the Future.

For me, this is a real mission, because we understand completely that we have to demonstrate unequivocally that the United States is willing to help those who are willing to help themselves. That doesn’t mean that we overlook or back away from our pure humanitarian assistance, something that USAID is a real leader in and must continue to provide, but we can’t keep doing the same thing over and over again and not getting better results. And because of the standards that you’ve set and the accountability and evaluations that you have imposed upon yourself, we are beginning to get a better idea of what works and what doesn’t work.

Now, that is not always popular, and it’s not always easy, because we’re all human. People get used to doing things a certain way, and then can, on an anecdotal level, see results that reinforce the patterns that they’ve engaged in. But we can no longer afford to do development like that. We have to have better data, harder analysis, more accountability, both for us, but also for the countries and people with whom we work. We look to MCC for helping to bring about that strategic shift that we’re making in our development work from aid to investment and looking at the risk-reward calculation, literally expecting to be able better to calculate a rate of return.

Now sometimes that does mean suspending and even terminating contracts when host governments are not living up to their end of the agreement, as you did in Mali and briefly in Malawi. Those are hard choices to make. But I think they have a positive effect. Just speaking about Malawi, for example, we were able to get the attention of the previous government and make a strong case to the incoming government that the MCC, which had been working in Malawi, would disappear, that we could not continue it if democracy was not maintained, if the rule of law did not stand firm in making the transition from the President, who passed away, to the Vice President.

And I often use you shamelessly – (laughter) – as I’m engaging with presidents, prime ministers, foreign ministers, and others about what we can do for them if they’re willing to do things for themselves. And I think we’re employing some of these same ideas and strategies in the Partnership for Growth countries.

Now we’re looking ahead to the next step of our development agenda. We need to build a broader network of partners at the local level and national levels, and we’re looking at MCC’s comparative procurements processes, your work with local management companies, and other lessons that we can learn.

It’s important that as we talk about country-led and country-owned, we put real meat on the bones. I spoke at length about this at the International Development Conference in Busan, South Korea earlier this year. Because it can just be a slogan, in which case, nothing really changes. It can be an excuse for setting countries up for failure, to be able to say, “We told you so.” Or it can be a difficult but rewarding path forward. Obviously, we hope it’s the latter.

But there are things countries have to do for themselves. And as Daniel and some of you know – collecting taxes, having your own revenues, making your elites actually pay for schools and health and infrastructure – things that are just beyond the pale in some countries that have no ability or willingness to try to do so. Looking at transparency and using electronic technology to bring about transparency, whether countries want it or not, having a real firm grip on what can be done to stamp out corruption. And this has to be not only our mission in the United States with our various institutions – MCC, USAID, State, DOD, all of us – but it needs to be globally enforced. And we’re beginning to see some movement in that direction as well.

So when I came in, I said I wanted to elevate development and diplomacy to be on a par with defense, that we needed to start thinking of the so-called three Ds as part of our smart power framework for foreign policy and national security. And I really believe we’ve gone a long way toward achieving that, and we need to continue. We can’t rest. We have to keep making reforms. We have to ask hard questions. We have to be unafraid to expose our own shortcomings and the problems that we have. Some people worry about that, that that will mean that the Congress or the American public won’t support us. I actually think it’s contrary. I think greater transparency, internally and externally, gives us a stronger platform to build on for the programs that we think are worth investing in, and MCC is certainly at the top of the line there.

So this is a high priority for me personally, it certainly is as Secretary of State, and as chair honorary or whatever I am – (laughter) – for the MCC board. The model of the board is something that I highly value, having outside, independent, private representatives. All of what you’re trying to do really has pushed our development agenda, so I hope that you will continue to set a high standard, to produce results, to do tough evaluations, finding out what works and what doesn’t work, what’s worth funding and not worth funding, and continue to give me and my successor, whoever that might be, a good talking point. When I say, “You won’t be eligible for an MCC compact if you don’t do this,” it actually does open eyes and get attention. So we will continue to do that so long as you continue to give us a good story to tell, and I’m confident that you will. Thank you all very much. (Applause.)

So, Daniel, I’m willing to take a few questions.

MODERATOR: Sure. All right. So we have a question. Linda – I mean Sarah.

QUESTION: Hi. Thank you so much for being here. Thank you —

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, Wellesley. (Laughter.) Go Wellesley. (Laughter.) A shameless pander that I fully appreciate. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Thanks for being here and for your support for MCC. I’m just wondering over your past four years of experience, as you look into the next administration, what do you think our Administration’s priorities for development should be?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think they should be continuing and accelerating a lot of the reforms that we’re already undertaking and enhancing even more the rigorous analysis that needs to go along with any of these reforms. I really still believe we have to do a better job integrating and coordinating what we do across our government, because it is not possible to replicate and duplicate everything that somebody else is doing. One of our goals has been to try to bring all of our development efforts in countries together so that we know what’s happening.

And I will just tell you, as a First Lady and as a Senator, when I would travel, as I did widely, I would often find – and this was pre-MCC days as well as post-MCC days – that somebody would be there on a USAID project or a CDC project or a DOL project, and they would never even talk to each other. They would rarely be in the same room. And so the countries we were working with were, understandably, somewhat confused. I mean, who would we talk to, who’s more important than somebody else? Well, everybody’s doing something which we think is important, or hopefully we would not be there.

But if we don’t better coordinate and integrate what we’re doing, we won’t get the biggest impact. So that if MCC is building a road, it might make sense for USAID to fund a hospital that will be accessible by the road. Just saying – (laughter) – that kind of thing makes sense to me. Or for PEPFAR to be closely coordinating with CDC and USAID on the delivery of health systems reform, because it’s all part of the same government, the same taxpayers, and hopefully to reach the same results.

So I think we’ve made a start, but it’s hard. I’m not going to stand up here and tell you it isn’t. It is hard, because different organizations have different cultures, different jurisdictions in the Congress, you’ve got different committees so nobody wants to be shorted in their committee by giving any benefit to another committee that oversees a different organization in the government. So it’s a little maddening, but we’ve been working very hard to try to move forward.

I think also being sure that we have more insight into cost savings that are achievable. It won’t surprise you to hear that I am pretty obsessed with procurement reform here at MCC, at USAID, and elsewhere. I mean, it makes no sense that we’d be in a country and you’d have one group buying furniture separate from another group, or vehicles when we should be getting cost benefits and scales of economy that – I mean, it’s – ultimately, it’s all the American taxpayer dollar, so we should be smarter about how we do procurement. And we should be smarter about our overall platforms. We have the foreign aid website, where we’re trying to be really transparent about all of this.

So we’ve got a good start, but we have a long way to go in order to be able to be as effective and accountable with every dollar that we spend in development. And I do think we have to keep pushing our multilateral partners, both governments and NGOs, to be on the same page as we are, because then we’ll get more bang for our mutual investments.

And finally, I guess I would say that there are certain expectations that everybody in our government should have from the governments that they deal with. So it can’t be just MCC saying, “Corruption, corruption, corruption is a big problem.” Everybody needs to say that. And we need to be creative and smart about how we convey that effectively.

So I’m excited. I think that we could, in the next four years, really institutionalize a lot of the changes that we’ve been undertaking and be a real global leader in how we deliver aid and how we further investment. And MCC should be right at the frontline of that.


QUESTION: Should I wait, or do you just want me to start?

Madam Secretary, good morning. I’m Linda Herda with Congressional and Public Affairs. Welcome to MCC. You as a First Lady, Senator, and now Secretary of State, you have met some amazing people during your many years of public service, people that my son and all our children will read about in history books. Of all the people you’ve met, who’s the one person who you simply cannot forget, and why? (Laughter.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Wow. Non-Americans, right? (Laughter.) Nelson Mandela. Yeah, Nelson Mandela. I mean – and for me, it was highly personal as well as – what he’s done on the public stage. Like so many people around the world, I was active in the antiapartheid movement. I was very much in favor of disinvestment and worked in organizations that promoted disinvestment, and watched when Mandela walked out of jail, and then followed closely everything that happened after that.

But the great privilege of my life was getting to know him. And I went to his inauguration as part of our official delegation led by Vice President Gore and myself. And it was an incredible experience, because we had breakfast in the morning at the President’s house with de Klerk and the outgoing Afrikaner government, then we went to the inauguration, and then we came back to the President’s house for the inaugural lunch with the new President. So it was just this eight-hour period where the real change that everybody had worked for and voted for actually occurred. And in that lunch, which was filled with all kinds of people, who were there both because they represented countries or because they had supported the ANC in its struggle – so you had Fidel Castro and Yasser Arafat and Al Gore. I mean, it was – (laughter) – and, I mean, one of my jobs was to stay away from Fidel Castro, which was – (laughter) – which was what I spent my time doing, circling around the room before we sat down for lunch. (Laughter.)

But so we were at this lunch, and Mandela had given an extraordinary inaugural speech, and was one of the very first national leaders to mention the importance of equality for women, which I liked to hear. But he stood up at the lunch and he greeted all of these dignitaries, some of whom he had known before he went into prison, but most of whom had come to prominence during the 27 years he was in prison, and he said he was so honored to have all these very distinguished people from around the world, but the three most important people to him at the lunch were three of his former jailers.

And he pointed to these three white men and asked them to stand. And he said, “There were many people who were in charge of us on Robben Island during the time that I was imprisoned. But these three men treated me with dignity. And I will never forget that, and I wanted them to be here.” And sitting there, listening to that and knowing how easy it is when you are in public life, let alone someone who’s a leader of a movement who loses the most productive years of his life to being in a very small cell, which I have visited twice – and the level of self-awareness and forgiveness and humanity and compassion and smartness that that represented was just breathtaking to me.

And in the years since then, I’ve spent a lot of time with him. I went back and went to his prison cell with him. I went back another time with my husband and went to his prison cell. And if you saw the movie Invictus about how he adopted the South African rugby team, which had historically been an all-white kind of symbol of white South Africa and how he cheered them on and demonstrated great sport interest in them – his ability to put himself in someone else’s shoes. And I asked him about it one time and he said something that he has said in public, he said, “When I went into prison, I was a very angry young man, and I realized that I could not stay angry and survive as a whole person. And when I walked out of prison, I knew that if I didn’t forgive those who had imprisoned me, I’d still be imprisoned.” And it was just so wise and so extraordinarily important for the world to hear.

I visited him last summer where he now lives with his wonderful wife Graca Machel, and that smile is incandescent. And even though he’s over 90 and not in great health, he still just conveys a sense of authority and presence. So I’ve met a lot of really extraordinary people. I’ve been very fortunate to do that over the course of my life. But if I have to pick only one, for all the reasons that are well known publicly and all the lessons that I learned from him personally, it would be Nelson Mandela.

QUESTION: Hi. I’m Jim Everly with our Department of Compact Operations. We work a lot in energy and water, areas that are heavily involved in climate change. I’m just wondering, Madam Secretary, what you think the 2 Ds – diplomacy and development – can do to help minimize the inequities created by global warming.

SECRETARY CLINTON: It’s an excellent question and it’s one that we think about a lot, because there’s no doubt that – newsflash – global warming is real – (laughter) – and that it’s having an impact around the world, particularly in places where mitigation and remediation are very expensive and hard to do, but it’s also going to have an impact everywhere. So the longer we postpone the inevitable, the higher the price, the greater the cost to all of us.

So I think what we’re trying to do here in the United States is to make progress in our own efforts, whether it’s higher gas mileage for cars or higher standards for power plants, energy – more energy efficiency, more alternative energy. But what we’ve been really struggling with is how to persuade the fast-growing economies that they need to do things like that as well. It’s very difficult to say to a Chinese or Indian person, “Oh, by the way, you shouldn’t buy that car. You shouldn’t buy an air conditioner because that’ll hurt the climate and will eventually hurt you.” And this person’s thinking my parents were totally impoverished, they had nothing, they gave me an education, I’m making a good living, and yeah, I want to buy a car, and I’d like to have air conditioning.

So part of the challenge is if we can get the technology to outpace the rapid increase in global income in a lot of the emerging countries so that we have a fighting chance to get ahead of the climate change curve, which is going in the wrong direction, as you know. That’s part of what we do with diplomacy.

Part of what we do with development is look for ways that we can help mitigate. The compact that I mentioned in Indonesia, which has a lot of potential, but we’ll see how it plays out, making common cause with countries that are facing very difficult conditions if they don’t themselves try to be part of a global community response. But I think we are really facing serious consequences because of our inability to try to get the world together to act more quickly. And I know this is a priority for the President. I know that he’s going to really focus on what more can be done that may not require Congressional action, because I’m not sure we can get the kind of action we would want out of the Congress, and then try to build up the multilateral approach as much as we can.

Now, partly out of frustration that we weren’t moving quickly enough on the UN track – although some positive developments came out of Cancun and Durban; they’re meeting in Doha right now – we formed something out of the State Department called the Clean Air and Climate Coalition to deal with the short-term climate forcers, the pollutants like methane, like soot, because carbon dioxide is the major, but not the only, contributor to what we are confronting with climate change. And in fact, if we can do something about these other pollutants we can deal with up to 40 percent of the green house gas emissions.

So we started this group with a small handful of countries. We’ve expanded it. We’re working very hard on specific deliverables. I also helped to form something called the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, which is the contributor to black soot, black carbon, in order to try to get cleaner cookstoves that could diminish the impact. So we’re moving on a bunch of different fronts, and it’s both diplomacy and development. But everyone knows we’re not moving fast enough and one of our real problems is what we can do to lead and assume responsibility, but also what we can do to get others who, understandably, are a little bit less than enthusiastic if they think it’s going to undermine their development. And we still haven’t made an effective enough argument about why there’s an alternative path to development, because it still is more costly to do alternative energy in lots of places.

So we’re working on all of this simultaneously, but it’s a – I was in – I went to the Pacific Islands Forum in Cook Islands this past summer, and those little islands may disappear. They may just absolutely disappear, and you’ll have to have a lot of relocation of people, which will be very disruptive. So there are human consequences, as well as economic consequences and health consequences, that are going to have to be dealt with.

The final thing I would say is the Arctic – we’re about to see the first oil tanker go through the Arctic, because there is no ice to stop it. So we’re working through something called the Arctic Council to try to get ahead of that, to have an oil spill protocol that we would all deal with because it’s not only the potential for drilling that could be catastrophic, but it’s also an accident waiting to happen with a tanker.

So there’s – you look around the globe. This remains one of the most serious threats that all of humanity faces, and we haven’t – none of us has done enough to deal with it yet.

MODERATOR: I think we might have a question from the field, Kenny from Cape Verde.


QUESTION: (Inaudible) hear me.


QUESTION: Morning, Madam Secretary. My name is Kenny Miller. It’s my honor to address you today from the beautiful nation of Cape Verde, where as director of (inaudible) exceptional team of MCC staff in partnership with the Government of Cape Verde. MCC’s pioneer (inaudible) mix of national policy reforms (inaudible) water sanitation sector and in land management.

My question is: As you know, MCC has worked very hard to lead U.S. foreign assistance initiatives to promote economic growth alongside relatively high-performing country partners. That said, what do you see for MCC’s budgetary and operational future, as much of the limited U.S. foreign assistance funds are directed at fighting terrorism, narcotics, disaster relief, and supporting transitioning democracies?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think the question was about the budget. Right?

MODERATOR: Yes. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: I’m sorry, Kenny. You were breaking up. So I apologize.

PARTICIPANT: We have his question here. MCC has worked hard to lead our foreign assistance initiatives in promoting economic growth alongside our relatively high-performing country partners. That said, what do you see in our budgetary future as much of the U.S. foreign assistance funds are directed to fighting terrorism, narcotics, disaster relief, and supporting transitioning democracies?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think that the four points that you just mentioned will continue to be a priority for the Congress and the Administration, but I also think MCC will continue to be a priority. And part of the advantage that MCC has is it’s viewed as a bipartisan institution started by George Bush. I think that gives you a built-in level of congressional support that has to be nurtured and tended all the time, but nevertheless is an important asset that MCC has.

But we all know we’re going into a difficult budget environment. Nobody will get everything they want. They just can’t. That won’t – it’s just not fiscally possible. But I’m sure MCC will be given a very positive response by the Administration and the Congress. And part of the challenge is to keep being able to do as much as possible with the resources you have because you keep learning how to do it better. And that, in itself, is confidence building.

So I think MCC’s budget will be certainly given a positive hearing both in the Administration and the Congress, and the more MCC can be positioned as a leading development agency around the world and as one that has learned lessons that will hopefully benefit all development agencies, I think the argument for MCC’s budget just gets stronger.

MODERATOR: One more question, Joan.

QUESTION: Joan (inaudible) from Congressional Affairs. Same lines as Kenny – it’s another budget question, sorry. As you noted, MCC has provided critical points of leverage, both as a carrot and stick, in U.S. diplomatic engagement, and that’s been particularly true over the last year in Mali, Malawi, Georgia, El Salvador, Senegal. And so as the Administration is working with Congress to avoid a fiscal cliff scenario, will you, as chairman of our board and as Secretary of State, advocate for MCC as a priority program that should be protected from disproportionate budget cuts?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I’m in favor of all my programs. (Laughter.) And if I were in front of USAID or the State Department, I would be asked the same question. (Laughter.) So I think – look, the negotiations going on over the lame duck are going to affect every program, and I can’t, standing here, determine what is going to be considered proportionate or disproportionate. Obviously, we in the State Department and I personally believe strongly that MCC is an important program that has proven itself and has to be adequately funded in order to continue the good work and to have the disproportionate impact on development theory and practice that MCC is having.

But let’s be candid. I mean, if it’s a choice between Head Start or School Lunch and the 150 Account, that’s going to be a harder case to make. So we are doing everything we can, and will continue to, to make the case that the 150 Account is important for our country and for our security and for the kind of world we want to live in, and the better governance that we find around the world, the greater transparency, the less corruption. More accountability is good for the people in those countries, but it’s also good for the United States.

So we have a very strong case to make, but I’ve been on both sides of this and it’s a very difficult undertaking. So you keep doing your job, which is to be the – along with your colleagues – the voices and reminders as to what we’ve already accomplished in a relatively short period of time with MCC. And I’m certainly working to do everything I can to protect the 150 Account, which is bigger than MCC but which does represent our commitment to the kind of world that we want our children and grandchildren to grow up in.

So we have no way to predict what’s going to happen, what’s going to be the final decisions on how the pie will be sliced and what will be cut off in order to meet the spending cuts that will have to be made in order to reach a deal in the Congress. It’s going to be a very difficult negotiation, and I know that the President and the White House are doing everything they can to shape it in a way that reflects our values and our interests at home and around the world, and MCC will be a part of that.

MODERATOR: I think that’s it. Thank you, Madam Secretary, for being here and for your support of MCC and the entire development community.

Ladies and gentlemen, let’s give our Secretary a big round of applause, all right? (Applause.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you all very much. Thank you all.

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Remarks at the Symbion Power Plant


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
June 12, 2011

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good afternoon, everyone. I am delighted to be here with all of you, and especially to be at this place where you can see the future of Tanzania taking place. I want to thank Paul Hinks for his comments about how he became involved in Tanzania, and I want to thank Pike Electric for their partnership, and GE, as well. And I am delighted to be with the minister of energy and minerals, as well as my colleague from the foreign ministry. And I thank Daniel Yohannes for his leadership of the Millennium Challenge Corporation.

I find that standing in front of a very large jet engine, which is what I am now doing, one that will bring electricity to thousands of homes here in Tanzania, is a good metaphor. Because Tanzania is taking off. And you are taking off on so many fronts. But one of the most important is improving access to electricity. And that really means expanding what is possible with reliable, affordable electricity. Hospitals can stay open without fear 24 hours a day. Factories will be able to compete. New businesses and industries can start and succeed.

Today, the 14 percent of Tanzanians who have access to the electric grid struggle through blackouts and brownouts. Some people generate their own power at three times the cost, but most do not have power.

President Obama and I created the Partnership for Growth to help countries identify obstacles to growth, and mobilize our resources in meeting them. And Tanzania is one of four countries in the entire world, one of only two in Africa, that were considered eligible to be the first partners for growth. And we are eager to help Tanzania deliver reliable, affordable electricity to its citizens. That is why the MCC is such an important partner in this effort. I want to really acknowledge the great work that the MCC is doing, along with our private sector partners, to extend power lines across the country. (Applause.)

The island of Zanzibar, with about three-quarters of a million people, gets its electricity from a 30-year-old submarine cable to the mainland. And when that cable falters, the power goes out there, too. Through MCC, we are helping Tanzania build a new cable with more than double the capacity of the old one.

Now, building power lines and electric grids may seem to some like boring, dry, technical work, not something that the press would be interested from either Tanzania or the United States. But, in fact, if you are looking for the single biggest reason why development is not succeeding in Latin America, Africa, and Asia, it is because of the lack of energy, and the inability to deliver electricity to people where they can use it.

Now, in Tanzania we have found a government and a people that understand this. And I know how important it is to finish what we started together. I am convinced that this will not only be good for Tanzania, but Tanzania will be a model, not just for Africa, but for the rest of the world.

Now, we want to take every opportunity to help Tanzania overcome all of the obstacles to growth that you face with rural feeder roads, and we just visited a very important site for our program called Feed the Future. Then farmers can bring more products to market. With a more effective fee and payment system, Tanzania can attract investors who will provide even more access to electricity and energy.

But even as we expand Africa’s energy supply, we need to ensure we are not worsening another obstacle to growth: climate change, and the effects we are already seeing here in Africa and elsewhere. Now, plans like this one, which runs on natural gas, can help us make the transition from coal-fired power to clean energy sources. This jet engine runs on natural gas. Tanzania happens to have natural gas. So this is another example of a good win-win strategy. The next major UN climate conference will be held in Africa, in Durban, South Africa. And the progress that we are making on food security, access to clean water, public health, and many other issues, will only be sustainable if we work together to mitigate and respond to climate change.

We believe in partnership, and we believe in competition. You heard Paul say that when MCC put out the bid to build power lines across this country, a lot of companies competed. But two American companies won. We are very proud of that because we, frankly, want more American companies competing for business in Africa. And we are going to take that message back to America, and urge them to get out here and compete for these foreign projects. (Applause.)

Now, these companies are not only investing in Tanzania, but, as Paul said, they are investing in the people, first and foremost. I love the idea that Symbion and Pike Power created a center, a school, to train Tanzanians in cutting edge technical skills. Now, are these some of the young men who are — and others who are working there? Please stand up. I am very proud of you. Please, stand up. Very good young men and women. Yay! (Applause.)

I know that some of the local staff have even been sent to the Northwest Lineman College in Boise, Idaho. And I appreciate that you are coming back and sharing those skills. Thank you, sir.

I know that among the people who are being trained is a young woman, Agnes Shiu. Agnes? Now, Agnes wasn’t hired to install power lines. Agnes was hired to become a cleaner. But she saw the other trainees studying to become linemen, and she knew immediately that’s what she wanted to do. And so, Agnes became, as far as we can tell, the first and only linewoman working in Tanzania today. (Applause.)

These are jobs, these are electricity opportunities that I am absolutely committed to support. I told Paul it is one of the great puzzles, why providing electricity remains so hard for so many countries. In our own hemisphere, one of the great efforts we are undertaking is to help Haiti recover from that terrible earthquake. They didn’t have a lot of energy before; we are going to try to help them have energy, going forward. But in country after country that wants to develop, electricity remains unavailable.

So, I don’t want to put a lot of pressure Symbion and Pike Power, and on the linemen and the government, but this is important for everybody. If you do it right, we are going to go and tell that story across the world. And we are going to point to the successful efforts right here in Tanzania. Because it’s one more story of a country headed in the right direction. Tanzania is a success story, a peaceful, growing democracy. And we are inspired by your progress, and we are very proud of the work of our partners on the ground. And we cannot wait to see the lights come on everywhere across your country. Thank you all very much. (Applause.)

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Remarks at Millennium Challenge Corporation Signing Ceremony for the Jordanian Compact

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh, MCC CEO Daniel Yohannes and Jordanian Minister of Water and Irrigation Mohammad Najjar
Dean Acheson Auditorium
Washington, DC
October 25, 2010

MR. YOHANNES: Thank you. Please be seated. Minister Judeh, Secretary Clinton, Minister Najjar, all our distinguished guests. It is an honor to join you for the historical signing of a $275 million compact between the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the U.S. Government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation.

Jordan and the United States share a close friendship built on mutual interest and shared values. The MCC Compact we sign today is further proof of the cooperation between our two great countries. I’d like to especially thank Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, the chair of MCC’s Board of Directors for her ongoing support of MCC’s mission to fight global poverty. I’d also like to thank Mohye al-Deen Shbool and Jay Scheerer for their exceptional leadership in guiding the Jordanian and MCC teams to this occasion.

Water is at the heart of the MCC Jordan Compact. Jordan is ranked among the five most water poor countries in the world. Because of short supply of water, many households receive water only once or twice a week. Poor connections and leaking pipes mean that even available water fail to reach some homes and businesses. The limits – this limits economic activity and complicates daily life. Ordinary citizens, the private sector, civil society, and the government worked together to identify Jordan’s severe water shortages as a constraint to economic growth. Addressing this issue is a priority for improving livelihoods, reducing poverty, and achieving sustainable economic growth.

Reflecting President Obama’s vision for global development, MCC’s country-driven approach invests in solutions by and for Jordanians. We believe our investments are most effective in partner countries that lead their own development and create conditions that lead their own – sustain their own impact we seek. That’s why Jordan’s Compact invests in water sector and that’s why Jordan is committed to sound policies, transparency, and accountability to deliver results from this Compact.

Jordan’s MCC Compact invests in three integrated water and wastewater projects in Zarqa. This is one of the country’s poorest areas, where nearly three in ten households consume less than the minimum amount of water considered essential for personal hygiene and food safety.

First, the Compact will rehabilitate the water supply network for households and businesses. Second, the Compact will expand the wastewater collection network into neighborhoods that lack access to proper sewer systems. Third, the Compact will expand the As-Samra Wastewater Treatment Plant by partnering with a private sector operator that will mobilize a portion of the total construction cost. Together, these projects will increase the water supply to households and commercial users throughout Zarqa.

Excellencies, MCC is proud to partner with Jordan to make sure that water advances prosperity. I congratulate the people of Jordan for their vision in creating the Compact we sign today.

Looking ahead, our focus must be on the Compact’s timely and successful implementation. When water flows in Jordan, poverty reduction and sustainable economic growth will surely follow.

It is now my great privilege to introduce and yield the podium to the chair of MCC’s board, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Madam Secretary. (Applause.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you Daniel. Thank you and it is a pleasure to welcome all of you here today for this exciting event. Last month, I had the honor of visiting His Majesty King Abdullah II in Amman and conferring with my colleague, Foreign Minister Judeh. So I’m especially pleased to have this opportunity to have all of you here for the witnessing of this new development partnership. And I want to welcome Minister of Water Najjar, Her Royal Highness – thank you for being here as well – the new ambassador from the Hashemite Kingdom, and all of our other Jordanian guests.

You’ve heard from President Yohannes all of the reasons why this project goes to the very core of one of Jordan’s most serious challenges: access to water; the good utilization of water; making sure that the water that is available and that can be collected, is deliverable. We heard what Jordanians told us during this process. And of course, our relationship with Jordan is rooted in mutual respect and common purpose and a shared commitment to working for peace and greater prosperity in the region. Jordanian peacekeepers serve in troubled lands far from home. The Jordanian Government, particularly His Majesty and the foreign minister have worked with us literally side by side and telephone by telephone to support direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians with the goal of two states for two peoples and a comprehensive peace in the region. We could not do this without Jordan’s leadership.

So this compact takes our already strong relationship to the next level. The United States will invest $275 million through the Millennium Challenge Corporation. I was very excited to share this good news with King Abdullah in person and I’m pleased to witness the official signing today. This will be a tangible demonstration of this friendship that exists between the people of Jordan and the people of the United States.

Because of the upgrades that will be made to the water supply network and to improving waste water collection and expanding a key wastewater treatment plant, nearly 2 million people will gain more reliable access to clean water, many for the first time. These projects will help Jordan manage its water resources while saving money and protecting the environment. And over the long term, such improvements to Jordan’s water system will help spur sustainable economic growth and improve public health. But the impact will be felt right away with much needed new construction jobs as projects begin. This is a real partnership.

I thank the Government of Jordan and your team. I thank the Millennium Challenge Corporation and its team.

Before I close, I want to say a few words directly to the people of Jordan. In a time when many families here in the United States are tightening their own belts and making difficult sacrifices, we are making this investment in your country because we believe in Jordan’s promise and we are committed to Jordan’s future. Americans understand that a strong and prosperous Jordan is good for the region and good for the world. We want to work with you to realize our shared aspirations and shape the future together. That is what this agreement is all about. Now, I would like to invite the foreign minister to add his comments.

Minister Nasser Judeh. (Applause.)

FOREIGN MINISTER JUDEH: (In Arabic.) Thank you very, very much, Madam Secretary. It is a great pleasure to be here at the State Department again and I am particularly honored to be here at the signing ceremony of the Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact. This auspicious occasion marks yet another important milestone in the strong and enduring relationship between Jordan and the United States, a relationship based on friendship, on mutual respect, common values, strategic partnership, and a shared commitment to peace and development.

The signing of the Compact today clearly demonstrates the United States’ unwavering commitment to the stability and prosperity of Jordan and to the entire region. It also reflects the United States strong acknowledgement of Jordan’s steady, unwavering and committed development and reform efforts on all levels. Indeed, the United States has made substantial and much appreciated contributions over many years to Jordan’s development in key areas such macroeconomic stability and the economic reforms and has provided support to critical sectors. Not to mention our all-important partnership in so many key areas, not least of all the pursuit of peace and prosperity in our troubled region.

We are very, very grateful and extremely thankful for this invaluable support and assistance. Jordan, under the leadership of His Majesty King Abdullah II ibn Al-Hussein remains committed to forge ahead along the road of reform and progress to create better lives and a prosperous future for our people and to set an example of what is possible to achieve. And in this regard, the sky is the limit.

We have made significant strides in political, economic and social reforms over the last few years, which have enhanced growth rates, improved the investment climate, strengthened the private and public sectors, and reduced the rates of poverty and unemployment. We also focus our efforts on ensuring gender equality and empowering women as key components of all our development plans.

And I think you mentioned, Madam Secretary, the presence of two very distinguished and accomplished ladies, our ambassador to the United States and Her Royal Highness Princess Aisha bint Al-Hussein our defense attaché. Just an example of where we’re heading in Jordan and I’m very proud to be here with them today.

Our parliamentary elections in two weeks, yours in one week, Madam Secretary, will mark yet another significant milestone along this path. And the significance of the date of our elections, the 9th of November, will not be lost on you in particular because five years ago on that tragic day in November in 2005, we had the terrorist attacks that took the lives of so many innocent civilians in Jordan and this is yet another affirmation of our resolve and our commitment to move steady on and meet these challenges head on in partnership with all our friends around the world.

The government is committed to having this process be open, transparent, and fair and so reform efforts for the upcoming period will build on the achievements and sustained gains attained to date on all fronts. Madam Secretary, Your Highness, ladies and gentlemen, Excellencies, the MCC program in Jordan has unique characteristics – relevance to the real needs of Jordanians, innovation in finding practical solutions to the challenges we face, and determination to implementing them.

The program will positively touch the lives of so many Jordanians in many ways, for it addresses water scarcity, one of the gravest environmental challenges that we in Jordan face today. The Compact will fund projects that will improve water and sanitation services to more than a million inhabitants in densely populated cities within the Zarqa area and will provide job opportunities for many Jordanians. In fact, this grant is of great importance to the water sector in Jordan as it contributes by around 20 percent of the total capital investment in the water sector over the coming three years.

I wish to extend our sincere thanks and appreciation to Secretary Clinton for her strong and unwavering support to the Compact agreement with Jordan. Madam Secretary, your presence here today and your words with His Majesty the King in Amman and the press conference we had during your last visit to Jordan is a clear demonstration of your support and of your friendship. We are also thankful to Mr. Yohannes for his strong leadership throughout the process. We also acknowledge the efforts of Mr. Patrick Fine, vice president for Compact Operations, Mr. Darius Teter, and deputy vice president.

I wish to thank my colleagues in Jordan who worked on this day and in the past, our MCA unit at the prime ministry and the teams in the ministries of planning, water and irrigation, and foreign affairs. I also wish to thank the transaction team at the MCC working on Jordan’s program for their cooperation, dedication, and support during the whole Compact development stages.

We in Jordan are looking forward to continuing to working very, very closely with the MCC towards effective, flourishing implementation of Jordan’s program and we’ll always be prepared to overcome obstacles that might come across our way. This is a great day. Thank you very much all of you. (Applause.)

(The Compact is signed.) (Applause.)

FOREIGN MINISTER JUDEH: Good luck, Madam Secretary.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. (Applause.)

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Remarks With Philippine President Benigno Aquino III At Millennium Challenge Corporation Signing Ceremony

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State

Waldorf-Astoria Hotel
New York City
September 23, 2010

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much. It is a true pleasure for me to be here and I want to thank Daniel Yohannes and the entire MCC team – we have board members and staff members here – for their hard work every day, but particularly for this compact. It is an exciting moment in the relationship between the United States and the Philippines, a very long relationship that is now focused on the future. And it is a great privilege and honor to welcome President Aquino here. Of course, my colleague, the Foreign Secretary Romulo, thank you for being here with me. And thank you as well, Secretary Purisima, Ambassador Gaa, and all of our distinguished Filipino guests.
One of the joys of my job as chair of the Millennium Challenge Corporation Board is watching countries make gains because of their own hard work, but with the help of the United States. The compact we are signing today is only possible because for the past few years, we have seen evidence of a commitment to deliver for the people that we believe is represented in the promise of President Aquino’s election. One of the projects supported by this compact, Kalahi, comes from a Tagalog phrase that means “linking arms against poverty.” I think it’s a wonderful phrase because that’s exactly what we’re doing with this Millennium Challenge Corporation compact.
We want to assist the people of the Philippines to be able to do more for themselves, and we also want to see results from our investment. This was a negotiated agreement. This was not a decision just to give the Philippines some money – although I’m sure that’s welcome to our friends – this was a negotiation. Because that’s the whole idea behind the MCC; there are certain principles that we believe in, and the Philippines has made a commitment to these principles. We believe that you can unleash the human potential in a country like the Philippines by tearing down the barriers to economic growth and fighting corruption, which is like a cancer in the economy and society.
Millions of people in the Philippines have left their native land for a better opportunity. They love the Philippines. I know because I know many of them. They try to go home when they can afford to do it. They retire back to the Philippines. They want to be sure their children and grandchildren are raised in the Philippines. We hope that, Mr. President, the people of your country will be able to make a good living in their own country. And in order to do that, there must be a partnership that creates the conditions for economic opportunity.
I know how smart the Filipino people are. I know how hard they work. I’m not sure there’s any group of people anywhere in the world that work harder than Filipinos. (Applause.) But let’s be very honest here. Too many of them feel that they cannot progress in their own country. Too many of them feel that the elite in business and politics basically call the shots, and there’s not much room for someone who’s hardworking, but not connected. Too many of them believe that even if they get the best education they can, that there won’t be an opportunity for them, and so they take that education and help build someone else’s economy, very often here in the United States.
So this work that we are agreeing to today has the potential for assisting in the transformation that President Aquino has spoken of. The work has already begun to show results, including new and improved roads so farmers and fishermen can get to market faster and new businesses can take route; a more effective and efficient tax collection system so the government can raise the revenue it needs to serve its people better; and a program that will partner with some of the country’s poorest communities to identify those development projects that will make the biggest impact. Because we know one size does not fit all; one community might need a school, another a health clinic, a third a water system. Each will be responsible for designing and driving its own project and for showing results.
Now, these are not American ideas, these are not MCC ideas; all of these ideas came from the Filipino people. They are designed to be self-sustaining and they build on efforts that have already begun. So we look forward to working with you and linking arms in the fight against poverty and on behalf of a better future for the people of the Philippines.
I look out at this audience and I see some dear friends who I have known for many years. When I was a senator from New York, I had the great privilege of working with many of you on behalf of a stronger relationship between the United States and the Philippines. It is my personal commitment that we will do everything we can to help you help yourselves. Because at the end of the day – (applause) – I know that the spirit of entrepreneurship, the drive to succeed, the love of family and commitment to the next generation has been a hallmark of Filipinos forever. And I am absolutely convinced, Mr. President, that under your leadership, your country will show great strides forward.
It is now my great honor to introduce the president of the Philippines, President Aquino. (Applause.)
PRESIDENT AQUINO: Your Honor, Secretary Hillary Clinton, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell, MCC CEO Daniel Yohannes, MCC Board members, U.S. Government officials, members of the Philippine delegation, ladies and gentlemen, tonight on behalf of the Filipino people, I am bearing witness to formal approval of a $434 million grant to the Philippines to help our fight against poverty and corruption. This is no ordinary aid agreement.
In the presidential palace in Manila, there is a painting titled the Blood Compact. It portrays the first treaty of friendship between a Filipino ruler and the representative of a foreign power. It is only fitting that tonight we are bearing witness to a modern kind of compact – a solemn agreement covenanted by its two entities in a common objective. Our common objective, our shared aspiration, is for poverty to be banished and for development and prosperity to take its place.
The American people and their government have put forward the financial means for developing nations to accelerate their development. And yet, as Ben Franklin reminds us, God helps those who help themselves. All the aid, all the assistance in the world, would be meaningless if it ended up stolen or misspent. We share the same view – a key to unlocking the potential for growth and prosperity among nations is good and honest governance. If the American people through their government can commit resources to their friends, their friends, owe it to those pledging assistance and to themselves to be worthy stewards of what they will receive – for this reason, the Philippine compact proposal has undergone a rigorous development and multi-stakeholder consultative processes, from the time the Philippines was introduced into the Millennium Challenge Account Threshold Program with the MCC five years ago.
Up to that time, up to the time that the country was selected compact-eligible from 2008 to 2010, the Philippine compact went through four congressional notifications, countless MCC missions to the Philippines, and a legislative concern on the Philippines compact eligibility due to income reclassification from a low-income country to a lower-middle income country. This agreement was made possible by Filipinos and Americans working together to give us the tools to finish the job of fighting poverty.
I commend Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo together with Ambassador Willy Gaa, the Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, who first led the development of the Philippine Threshold Program in 2005 as then-secretary of trade and industry, and who is now responsible for the lead oversight in implementing the compact for the next five years under an accountable entity called the Millennium Challenge Account Philippines.
On the American side, the former members of the MCC Board and their staff – Lorne Craner, president of the International Republic Institute; Ken Hackett, president of Catholic Relief Services; former private sector member and managing director of Greycroft Limited Liability Corporation, Alan Patricof; and USAID Chief Operating Officer Alonzo Fulgham, who also served as Acting USAID Administrator – we appreciate your invaluable contributions.
We acknowledge as well the efforts of previous MCC CEOs – Ambassador John Danilovich, Rodney Bent, and Darius Mans for their exemplary efforts, as well as to the talented MCC Philippine transaction team led by Deputy Vice President Darius Teter and Country Director Troy Wray.
There are, of course, Madam Secretary Clinton, a true friend of the Philippines, and the members of the MCC Board – Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Ron Kirk, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, MCC CEO Daniel Yohannes, and private sector member, former Senator William Frist. All of you have made possible this vote of confidence in the Philippines.
The MCC Board of Directors has praised this Compact for its creativity, innovation and relevance. Each of the three projects in the Compact has integrated several key components to combat corruption.
The Revenue Administration Reform Project or RARP directly targets improvements in governance or internal integrity within the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR). The Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan – Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services, or Kalahi-CIDSS, is designed to ensure that resources are provided to communities directly where they are needed most, and enforces transparency and accountability for local development investments.
The Secondary National Roads Project introduces a number of checks on construction standards and road contractors. And these are the Compact projects that, in the words of MCC executives, demonstrates my country’s “high capacity” as an MCC partner.
As I conveyed during my teleconference with Mr. Yohannes last August 9, we will do our part to use this grant wisely. We will continue the Revenue Integrity Protection Service or lifestyle checks programs. We will ensure that the Policy Improvement Process Plan of Action will be implemented in parallel with the Compact projects to effectively address performance issues such as Control of Corruption. We are currently refining our indicators for the Performance Governance System, which was already introduced in six national government agencies, namely education, health, public works, transportation, internal revenue and the police. We will revive the Philippine Development Forum this year so that the Philippines will remain on track when it comes to our 2015 Millennium Development Goal targets, especially in meeting targets in primary education and health services delivery.

My visit to the United States has a key objective – to inform investors that the Philippines is indeed open for business – not the under-the-table kind, but the legitimate kind; not the kind of business that thrives in corrupt deal-making, but which thrives because of sensible and enforceable and fair contracts. I have come with my economic team to share with our American friends the possibilities for doing business in my country, either through the Build-Operate-and-Transfer schemes or Corporate Social Responsibility programs.

But first and foremost, I am here to assure you that the Philippines is committed to good housekeeping practices in its domestic and international dealings with investors. We are committed to not just a fair, but a square deal for all. We will not abandon the poor to the markets, just as we will not distort markets by means of red tape or crony impositions.

Tonight, we bear witness to a partnership for development, a partnership built on good faith. We have paid our dues, you have given your pledge. We are in this together, which is only fitting, since we are two nations bound by a shared commitment to the same ideals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Good evening and Mabuhay to all. (Applause.)

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Remarks At Millennium Challenge Corporation Signing Ceremony With the Government of Moldova

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Benjamin Franklin Room
Washington, DC
January 22, 2010

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, Daniel, for that introduction. And I know that this very first compact signing for you will have a special place in your heart. And I don’t want to increase the pressure on Moldova, but I think the chairman – or the CEO is going to be paying very close attention to how well we do together.

I want to recognize and thank the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister who have already been acknowledged, and also our Ambassador to the Republic of Moldova. Ambassador Chaudhry, thank you for being here and for your good work on behalf of our efforts in Moldova. I know that we have the North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, who is here. Is Elaine here? Because – there you are, I was looking for you, Elaine – North Carolina has a strong partnership with the government and people of Moldova, and we’re delighted that you would come up for this occasion.

And all of you, thank you for being here for this historic event, the signing of the Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact. Since 2004, MCC has worked with countries all over the world to help millions escape the grip of poverty, to work with governments so that they had more capacity to deliver services to their people, to provide the kind of technical assistance that would go for the long term in the way that governments conducted their business – transparently, with accountability, free from corruption.

Through the MCC, the United States has provided over $7 billion to national governments committed to good governance, economic trade and investments, and the health and well-being of their people. The country-led MCC framework empowers nations to chart their own paths to progress. Each country has to identify its barriers to progress, has to craft solutions to overcome these barriers, has to implement the programs that will move the countries toward economic growth.

In the last five years, over 40 MCC Compact countries have built schools, roads, hospitals, and made many other investments in infrastructure that are providing a solid foundation for future prosperity. And today, I am pleased that we are able to add Moldova to that growing list. This is the final step of a journey that began in 2005 when Moldova became part of the MCC Threshold Program. As a threshold country, it pledged to undertake a series of reforms before it could become eligible for an MCC compact.

And working with the MCC and our partners at USAID, the government implemented legal reforms to curb corruption, introduced budgetary requirements that promoted transparency, and strengthened the capacity of civil society and the media to report on crime. And in that period, Moldova made significant progress economically, socially, and politically. And we are very pleased that this day has come. We applaud the people of Moldova and their leaders for embracing a reform agenda.

We know it was not easy. We know that it came at political cost. But it was so important because it has established a democratic Moldova that has, for the first time, a democratically- elected prime minister in eight years. So this agreement begins a new chapter in the relationship between our two countries. It reflects our commitment to help put the people of Moldova on the road to economic progress, and that’s literally because, as Daniel pointed out, we’re going to be building roads with this money.

We will also be rehabilitating irrigation systems, helping farmers transition into high-value agriculture that has real market quality inside of Europe and beyond, and building those safe roads from Chisinau to the Ukrainian border so that farmers can get their goods to market. These are all essential steps, and we will work with you and support you as you proceed. The Obama Administration is committed to building our partnership, broadening it, strengthening it, and seeing the people of Moldova reap the benefits of market reform, political reform, and all of the efforts that have been undertaken in the last years.

So, Prime Minister Filat, today’s signing is a victory for governance, human rights, and economic reform. We want Moldova to be part of the Euro-Atlantic alliance with all of the benefits that that will bring to the Moldovan people. So I congratulate you, your government, and your people for your ongoing commitment, and I wish you every success in the implementation of this compact. And I thank all of you for being here for this important milestone.

Now, please join me in welcoming His Excellency Prime Minister Filat to the podium.

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