Thank you for all of you who are here. I feel honored to be in this distinguished group and I am very honored to be here on this really historic occasion because we are celebrating, first of all, a major program to help this city, that I have become very fond of, to tackle its water problems. We are also celebrating a strategic partnership that continues to grow and flourish to the benefit of both of our countries.
I have been involved with other MCC compacts, but this is the first time I’ve been involved in the pre-implementation phase. It’s impressive to witness the committed professionals of the Millennium Challenge Account collaborating with key ministries to solve problems and pave the way forward.
In all MCC compacts, countries benefit from funding that comes in the form of a grant, not a loan. The U.S. government believes that growing democracies will benefit from assistance programs that are structured in a manner that does not lead to too much debt. That is a very important and fundamental point of the MCC.
In the Mongolia Water Compact, the primary beneficiaries will be the residents of the capital city. Ulaanbaatar is a fast-growing city, and you can see signs of this growth all around us.
What you cannot see are the challenges lurking around the corner – namely, the forthcoming water shortage is one such fundamental challenge. So it is a tribute to the Mongolian government that they made a wise decision to effectively increase the city’s water supply by 80 percent. I am very proud the U.S. Government can play a role in this effort as well.
This compact will also create new jobs. Not just any new jobs, but jobs that will have advanced training for managers, designers, construction workers, and water utility staff that will help improve the quality of the workforce.
Tying this together, the MCC will work with their counterpart ensure that the funding from the U.S. and Mongolian governments is spent properly. That is an important fundamental point of MCC. The Millennium Challenge Account has already approved an Antifraud and Corruption Plan that is available on their website and will be updated regularly.
So we are starting from a position of strength. The State Department and the U.S. Embassy are pleased to celebrate today with our partners in the Mongolian government and our colleagues at MCC. We will continue to do everything we can to make this compact the collaborative success that it has been so far.