6 August 2014

Africa: Investments in Africa Help Lift People Out of Poverty

Photo: State Department photo
MCC CEO Hyde and Ghana's Finance Minister Terkper Shake Hands After Signing the Ghana Compact

Investing in Africa's Future, Lifting People Out of Poverty

The U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit is in full swing, and it couldn't have come at a more opportune moment. Africa is on the rise. It has become the world's fasting growing continent and a new center of global growth -- creating more opportunities for its people than ever before.

The United States has a deep interest in a peaceful and prosperous Africa, and the Millennium Challenge Corporation is excited to be playing a key role in helping African nations lift their people out of poverty.

The majority of MCC's investments and partnerships over the past 10 years have been with African nations. Over the past ten years, MCC has invested nearly $6 billion in Africa -- more than 60 percent of its portfolio.

Because of these investments, more than 650,000 people have improved access to clean water, nearly 270,000 households have gained legal protections for their land, and almost 190,000 farmers have been trained.

But the numbers only tell part of the story. MCC selects partner countries that demonstrate a commitment to good governance, open markets, and investments in the well-being of their people. In doing so, MCC supports reform and solidifies relationships with countries that will serve as our allies and trading partners.

MCC recognizes that Africa's success is good for Africa and good for America. It serves our shared security interests, increases prosperity for our countries and reflects a shared commitment to the dignity, well-being, and freedom of all people.

Today, MCC will be launching its newest and perhaps boldest investment to date -- a five-year, $498 million compact to transform the Ghanaian power sector, helping the country provide a safe, reliable and affordable source of power to households and businesses. This will grow its economy, create jobs, and empower Ghana to sustain its progress and growth.

The compact is the largest U.S. Government transaction to date under Power Africa, President Obama's initiative to double access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa. I will join Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama and Secretary of State John Kerry to sign this landmark compact, which represents MCC's new approach to delivering effective development assistance -- incentivizing policy and infrastructure reforms that enable and leverage billions more in private sector investment.

The compact takes a system-wide approach to transforming Ghana's power sector. It invests in projects focused on distribution to make Ghana's energy sector financially viable and capable of attracting private investment, and it funds initiatives supporting greater energy-efficiency and cleaner renewable energy.

By investing public funds to create policy and infrastructure reforms, the compact is expected to catalyze at least $4.6 billion in private energy investment and activity from American firms in the coming years.

These investments will provide Ghanaian homes, schools and hospitals with the access to the reliable electricity they need to thrive. By encouraging entrepreneurship and supporting the productivity of Ghanaian businesses, these investments will help generate economic growth.

Today's signing is a win-win for the people of Ghana and the people of the United States who believe in a peaceful and prosperous Africa. President Mahama and I are proud to sign this investment with Secretary Kerry as a demonstration of the kind of 21st century U.S.-Africa economic partnership this week's Summit represents.

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