January 2006 marks the second anniversary of the U.S. assistance program known as the Millennium Challenge Account, or M-C-A. President George W. Bush says countries seeking M-C-A assistance must show results in three key areas: "They must govern justly. . . .They must invest in their people. . . .And they must encourage economic freedom".
Too often in the past, says President Bush, U.S. aid "was squandered by inept leaders, pocketed by corrupt officials and swallowed up by rampant inflation. Without insisting on accountability in exchange for generosity," he says, the United States was "not serving the people of the developing countries."
(ACT1 :06 – "By requiring countries to create and implement their own strategies, they have a stake in their own success."
So far, says President Bush, the U.S. has signed compacts with five countries and is considering applications from many others:
"In Madagascar, where eighty percent of the people live on less than two dollars a day, the M-C-A compact is helping to modernize the national land registry, which will help secure property rights for more than sixty thousand families. In Honduras and Nicaragua, M-C-A compacts are helping farmers improve their business plans to grow more profitable crops, and to get the crops to the market faster. In Georgia. . . .an M-C-A compact is helping to rebuild a gas pipeline that will provide reliable heat and electricity for more than a million people. And in Cape Verde, off the Atlantic coast of Africa, an M-C-A compact is funding the construction of new roads and bridges that will connect some of the nation's key islands."
Mr. Bush says that the success of the Millennium Challenge Account is reinforcing the U.S belief "that lifting nations out of poverty requires partnership, not paternalism. In the 21st century," he says, the U.S. "is willing to be a partner with every nation that works to advance the prosperity, equality, and liberty of its people."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.