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.